Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hope, Faith and Charlie

One of the books I read last month was Hope, Faith and Charlie: An inspirational journey of a child's courageous battle with cancer, his family's fight to save his life, and the blessings that happened along the way.  The author, Dierdre Carey had contacted me and sent me a complimentary copy of the book to read.  Her initial email brought tears to my eyes.  Imagine having two young sons and so much hope for your growing family and then finding out that your baby has a huge brain tumor, a very rare form of cancer.  As a mom, I know it was hard enough when my babies didn't feel good, but compared to the 21 months of chemotherapy and 11 operations Charlie had to go through, that was nothing.

I agreed to read Deirdre's book, but then once it arrived I put it off for a while.  I thought it would be hard to read, and in a way it was, because it's hard to see anyone go through what this family did.  Once I actually sat down and started reading, I had a hard time putting it down.  I fell in love with Charlie, which is pretty much the story of Charlie's life - everyone falls in love with him.  I found myself crying, as I thought I would, but not necessarily in the places I expected.  I found myself laughing out loud, cheering for Dierdre when she stood up to the nurses and doctors who needed put in their places, and marveling at the faith and love this family showed throughout the entire ordeal.

Thankfully, miracles do still happen because Charlie made it through his battle with cancer, meeting many new people and changing lives along the way, and he's now 10 years old.  With this book, Dierdre Carey hopes to renew people's faith and belief in miracles, and I think the book does just that.

You can buy the book at or on Amazon.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Camera Critters (#95)

I heard they did a study recently to see what cats do with their time.  They put cameras on their collars to record what they did all day.  I’m not sure I believe the results of that study, because it said that just six percent of the cats’ hours were spent sleeping.  I’m thinking the results would have been completely different if they’d studied the cats in my house.

Sure, there’s some looking out windows, interacting with one another, climbing on stuff and getting in trouble, and of course eating, but there is an awful lot of sleeping.  Seems like a lot more than 6% of their time.

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 43


I’m so glad there’s a meme like Looking at the Sky on Friday, because it means all the time I spend looking at the sky, and taking pictures of it, has a purpose! Click the badge for more info.

I opened the back door this morning to take a picture of the moon – even though it was below freezing out there.  Sometimes you just have to sacrifice, right?  I think I’ll survive, though and won’t have to look at insurance advertising to be sure I’m covered.

I wish I could figure out how to get the detail on the moon as well as the hazy little clouds around it, instead of just a white circle with a little haze.

Any suggestions?

If you enjoy skies as much as I do, be sure to check out Looking at the Sky on Friday.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Back to Work

Since Beth is back home, she went looking for a new job.  She was wanting to find something a little closer to home to save on time and gas money.  She put in several applications but hasn't heard from any of the places, so she went last week to fill out her paperwork so she could go back to Marshall's.  They put her to work right away that day, and she's worked practically every day since.  So it's good, she's getting a lot of hours.  She's also working a lot earlier than she has before - 7am, so she's up and out of the house by 6:30, and the kids are having to share the bathroom in the mornings again.  They haven't had to do that since first semester last year when Beth was still in school, and then they didn't have to leave the house until 7:30 or so.

Hopefully they will realize how much they missed her at Marshall's while she was gone, and she'll feel more appreciated there now that she's back.  Whatever her faults may be, she is definitely a good worker, and they're lucky to have her.  She knows how to do anything that needs done in that store and can fill in anywhere.  She may not want to work in retail forever, but she is good at what she does - and she's really good at getting people to sign up for those TJX Rewards cards.  Must be that cute smile and those brown eyes - and her math skills, too.  Not that it takes a lot of math to figure out how much a customer can save on that first purchase - 10% - but some of the cashiers can't even figure that out. 

Anyway, here's hoping the Marshall's experience is more positive than in the past, and we won't have to hear too much whining.

$50 Unlimited Plan with Boost Mobile and the Sanyo Incognito

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boost Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.

I know all the hype the last couple of days is about that new product some fruity company unveiled, but I don't think I'll be getting one of those any time soon.  They do look cool with all the things they can do, but it's not really something I can justify right now.  Now, this new SANYO Incognito, maybe.  I mean, after all, everyone needs a cell phone, right?  There's even a government program that offers to provide people with one for free - as if they are a necessity. But, of course, that's beside the point.

Cell phones are really nice to have, and convenient.  Add all the great features this phone has, and you've really got something.  The SANYO Incognito™ SCP6760 has a 2MP camera with VGA camcorder, a music and video player, and enhanced web browsing.  It even has a full QWERTY keyboard, making it easy to send text messages and keep up with all your social networks and web browsing.  It also includes Multi-Media messaging (Picture & Video), is Stereo Bluetooth® Capable & GPS Enabled. With the $50 Monthly Unlimited Plan from Boost Mobile, you never have to worry about going over your minutes, texts, or internet bandwidth, and there are never any roaming charges because it's nationwide.  Even better, there's no contract, and no commitment.

The phone (with all this should we really still call it a phone?) sells for $129.99 (excluding taxes) with free shipping.  And, it fits in your pocket, unlike that other thing, you know the one I mean.

Click Here

Visit my sponsor: Boost Mobile

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Get Free Stuff

I saw this on Jenn's blog, and since she mentioned getting all kinds of free stuff, I had to check it out.  It's called Shop4Freebies, and every day they have a list of free samples and things you can sign up for.  I signed up for their daily email so I don't forget to go check to see what's available.  Jenn says she's gotten quite a few things, but I just started requesting things, so I'm still waiting.  It will be fun when the mailbox starts filling up with free stuff.

I also signed up for a site called because Misty invited me.  It looks like it should be fun.  They're supposed to send us things to try and then we get to share on sites like facebook and twitter.  For doing that we're supposed to earn smiles, as well as for referring our friends - so if you click my link and sign up it will make me happier, or at least give me more smiles.  I'm not exactly sure how the whole smile system is supposed to work, but it sounds rather happy, and of course there's the FREE STUFF.  I just can't resist that free stuff!

Another One Fixed

Jeffrey took his car in Monday to get the damage on the side fixed.  Again, I didn't see the damage.  Why do I not go out and look?  I don't know.  I really was going to, but I didn't think about it until after he had left on Monday.  Oh well, it's all fixed now.  He took it to the auto body shop montclair (in Delafield, actually) and they did what they do and got it looking like new.

Honestly I'm beginning to wonder if this car of Jeffrey's isn't some kind of magnet for problems.  Some lady hit him, part of a tree fell on the trunk, and now this ice chunk or whatever it was tossed at him by a school bus.  I guess I should just be thankful that nothing has been too serious - just irritating.  Luckily we haven't had any problems with the insurance, either.  You hear horror stories, but ours has been great.  Taking a car into the body shop isn't cheap, either.  I'm really thankful we only have to pay the $100 deductible.  However nice they are and quick to pay, I'm hoping we don't have to call them again for a long time.  Hopefully Jeffrey's car has it all out of its system and will stay out of trouble from now on.

Still Walking

Logo of the Breast Cancer Network of Strength.
I started walking in the mornings way back when Cory was a baby.  He's now 17, and I've been walking for almost 17 years.  (I started in the Spring before he turned 1)  That is a lot of miles!  I really never kept track of the miles, just walked about 2 miles every weekday morning, weather permitting.  I did try keeping track of my miles in the last year or so, mainly to see how long a pair of shoes lasts.  Sometimes it seems like they wear out so fast, but when I actually log the miles I find that they are doing just what they're supposed to.

Starting last April, I started faithfully logging my miles at BeeWellforLife (it was BeeWell Miles then)  Between April 1st and October 31st, every mile equaled a 15¢ donation to Breast Cancer Network of Strength.  This year, instead of waiting until April to start the program, BeeWellforLife has already started donating - so every mile walking, running, or cycling and logged at BeeWellforLife means a 15¢ donation to Breast Cancer Network of Strength.
For every mile you log in your account, Bumble Bee will make a $0.15 donation to the Breast Cancer Network of Strength. We once again challenge all of us to walk 1 million miles as a community. Just by doing so, Bumble Bee will donate an additional $50,000 to Breast Cancer Network of Strength for a total donation of $200,000!

In 2009, we donated $150,000. This year, let's go above and beyond to do our part so that no one has to face breast cancer alone. You can Bee The Difference. Join us.

I love that by recording something I'm already doing, I can be doing something positive for someone else, too.  So far I've logged a total of 382 miles since April 1, 2009.  277 of those miles went toward the donation to Breast Cancer Network of Strength in 2009, and so far I've got 34 miles counted in 2010.  It all adds up, and it's fun to see those miles go by.  If you're not already walking, BeeWellforLife also has plenty of tools to get you started and keep you going.  Check it out.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good Food in Branson

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson. All opinions are 100% mine.

This sounds like fun. The weekend of Friday, February 26th through Saturday, February 27th the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel is hosting an Italian Culinary Weekend. Friday night begins with a reception that includes antipasto and hors d’oeuvres along with great Italian wines.  Then on Saturday participants experience a hands-on cooking demonstration, and it all ends in a 5-course dinner Saturday night.  Prices start at $429 for two people, and that includes the reception, cooking school, the 5-course dinner, and a goodie bag filled with items to take home. 

Yep, sounds like fun.  The only thing is I'd have to find someone else to go with me, because I just can't see my husband doing the cooking school thing.  He's the guy who conveniently forgot how to cook anything when he married me.  Not that I'm actually complaining, because I like to cook, so it works out well.  I think Jeffrey would appreciate the food and Italian wine included in this weekend, but he'd rather get out and enjoy some of the other things Branson has to offer - like championship golf courses, for example. 

There is a lot to do in Branson, museums, live entertainment, lakes, theme parks, shopping, and more.  The Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel is within easy driving distance to everything.  I just wonder how long we'd have to stay in order to see and do everything we'd like to see and do?  We might not make it for the Italian Culinary Weekend, but one of these days we'll have to find out, or at least give it a good shot.

Visit my sponsor: Experience the taste of Italy in Branson, MO!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Heads or Tails - Call

Heads Or Tails

The theme/prompt for THIS week, January 26, is:

HEADS - "Call"

Make any kind of post using any form of the word "Call"


I went looking for some new ringtones for my cell phone last night.  This morning when Cory got up, I had him call me so he could hear the new ringtone I have.  When Cory calls me, this is what I hear:

Create free ringtones at Phonezoo

Cory wasn't too impressed.  He thinks I should find something else to use as my ringtone for when he calls me.  What do you think?

Heads or Tails is a fun weekly meme created and hosted by Barb (aka Skittles) – feel free to join in!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Camera Critters (#94)

More from our trip to the zoo in September.

I wonder what these two are so interested in?

Somebody else is getting fish!  Sure the seal did some tricks and earned his fish, but maybe if these two polar bears sit there long enough they’ll get some too.  A guy can hope, right?

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

Friday, January 22, 2010

It Smells Good in Here

I've been cooking all day - it seems like it, anyway, and I still haven't figured out what's for breakfast in the morning.  Usually I either fix something Friday or at least get it mixed up, so that Sabbath morning breakfast is really easy for me.  It might just end up being cereal or yogurt tomorrow at this rate.

I did fix Corn Lover's Veg Stew for the potluck tomorrow, and it smells so good.  I haven't had it in a while, so I'm looking forward to that.  Right now I've got Stewed Lamb cooking.  I got the recipe from My Wooden Spoon - it looked so good that I just had to try it.  I didn't have any ribs, so I'm using lamb chops, and I used a can of diced tomatoes because I didn't have fresh.  Hopefully it will turn out as good as I think it will.  I'm thinking a little Basmati rice to go with it and a salad, and we'll have a really good meal.  Neither one of the kids will be home - Beth is working until 9pm, and Cory went to a school dance with some friends.  So there is more than enough for Jeffrey and me.  We better not eat too much or we'll be looking for some nordictrack coupons or good exercise DVDs on sale - because we'll have to work all that food off somehow.

Anyway, time to go back to cooking - gotta take the lid off the lamb and get the rice started.  I wonder what kind of wine goes with stewed lamb?  I guess I'll leave that up to Jeffrey.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 42


I’m so glad there’s a meme like Looking at the Sky on Friday, because it means all the time I spend looking at the sky, and taking pictures of it, has a purpose! Click the badge for more info.

I didn’t get any pictures of the sky this week.  I’m not even sure why.  So I thought I’d go back a few weeks and share this sunrise.  I went into Cory’s room to pet Tillie, who was laying in one of her favorite spots on the end of his bed.  I thought I’d be nice to her and open the blind so she could look out.

I liked the way the sun made the lamp sort of glow.

If you enjoy skies as much as I do, be sure to check out Looking at the Sky on Friday.

2010 Homebuyer Tax Credits

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Coldwell Banker. All opinions are 100% mine.

Beth keeps talking about moving out, and now she's talking about buying a house, with her boyfriend Tim, which probably isn't the best idea in the world, but she wouldn't want to hear it.  You never know, maybe things will work out for them, and they'll get over the drama and live happily ever after.  If they are going to buy a house, now would be a good time.

The government extended the First-Time Homebuyer Credits into 2010.  Not only that, but they have added credits for Move-Up Homebuyers too.  That means first time buyers or buyers who have not owned a home in the last 3 years aren't the only ones who can benefit from the tax credits now.  Current homeowners who have lived in their primary residences for 5 consecutive years out of the last 8 qualify, too.

Some of the highlights of the 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credits are:
  • Buyers must have a signed contract by April 30, 2010. (and close by June 30, 2010)
  • Income limits are now $125,000 for singles, $225,000 for married couples.
  • First-Time buyers can qualify for up to $8000 and current qualifying homeowners for up to $6500.
  • The cost of the home purchased must be no more than $800,000.  (Seriously, anyone who can afford to buy a house that costs $800,000 or more doesn't really need a tax credit, does he?)
You can learn more about the 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credits by visiting the Coldwell Banker website and watching the video there.  I'm not always in complete agreement with all these tax credits the government keeps wanting to give out, but if what he said in the video about home sales adding jobs and putting money into the local economy is true, then this program has the potential of helping the economy more than some of the other ones seem to.

If you're thinking that now is a good time to buy a house, you can even start searching right on the site or contact an agent who will be happy to answer any questions. 

Visit my sponsor: 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credits

About that Cat Food

We’ve been feeding the cats from their own dishes for a few days now.  It really has helped us see how much each cat eats.  We were right – Teddy eats the most.  We measure 1/2 a daily serving into each dish in the morning, and Teddy always eats all of his.  Then, the rest of the day he does his best to convince someone to feed him more.  If Tillie or Weasley are eating, we have to keep an eye on Teddy, or he’ll push them away an help himself to their food.  He has a hard time understanding that he has to wait until mid-afternoon when it’s time for him to have more food – which he promptly eats.  All of it.

Tillie and Weasley don’t eat all the food we give them.  One day Weasley ate all his in the morning, but didn’t finish the food in the afternoon.  Both of them like to eat some, walk away, and come back later to eat some more.  That means I have to keep an eye on them so I can pick their food up when they walk away – or Teddy will eat it for them.  It might almost be fun just to measure food out and keep feeding that cat until he thinks he’s had enough – just to see how much he really would eat.  All I know is that, if we don’t limit him, he would eat a lot.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It Could Have Been Worse

...or Beth could have just driven a car with a cracked bumper.  A trip to the body shop, and the bill comes to over $1500.  Honestly, I don't know how bad it really was because I didn't look at it, but if we didn't have insurance coverage, there is no way we could've afforded to fix the car, not without 100 or so eczema treatment reviews and cell phone reviews, and links to various and sundry things.  (and you thought today was bad!)  

That $100 deductible isn't sounding so bad after all...

If It's Not One Thing, It's...

In the last couple weeks it seems there have been all kinds of extra expenses:
  • A trip to the vet for Weasley to get a check-up, shots, and fixed - approximately $300
  • An oven that just stopped working - approximately $300 to get it fixed
  • Beth hit a coyote and cracked the bumper on the car she drives - $100 deductible
  • and yesterday Jeffrey's car got hit in the side by a big chunk of ice - another $100 deductible, I'm sure
Seriously, if it's not one thing, it's another.   At least you don't have to hear me talking about diet products or fat cell mass - but I'm sure that would end up costing us, too!

Clips from Kentucky

This is slightly late, but I just wanted to post a video Cory did here. He shot a bunch of stuff in Kentucky when we were there and then edited it together for his Tuesday (1/5/10) video on the 7awesomebookworms channel on YouTube. Only a couple weeks late, right?  But  I thought it was fun.

That watch is HUGE!

The boy does a pretty good job of editing videos and all kinds of other stuff on his computers. Yes, I said computers. He's got two in his room. His dad went searching for KVM switches and found him one so that he can run both computers with one monitor. He just switches between them depending on what he wants to do.

You're Outta Here!

After my last post, you probably expected your reader to be inundated with posts, and then nothing.  I was just trying to build some anticipation!  No, not really.  I got distracted going through some old mail and recycling tons of it.  I can't believe how quickly a small pile of junk mail can grow into a huge one.  I'm sure it's not human growth hormone, but there must be some kind of mail growth hormone.  Arrrggghh!

I try to do a much better job of taking care of the mail as it comes in nowadays, but some of this was from back in 2003.  It had been put away, I'm sure with the intention that we would take care of it later, but then we never pulled it back out.  When we got our tile done, we had to move everything out of the kitchen and dining room, and then when we got the carpet stretched afterward, we moved everything in the living room.  So, a lot of things got pulled off shelves and out of cabinets then - and I am very slowly and gradually working my way through all that stuff, tossing as much as possible.  Eventually all the extra stuff will be out of here, right?

How Many is Too Many?

Waffle and IronImage by kcmckell via Flickr
I usually don't post more than a post or two a day - sometimes three.  And some days I don't post at all.  Partially it's because I don't have time to post any more than that.  While I'm busy working around the house doing laundry, ironing, vacuuming, cooking, etc., I'm composing all kinds of posts in my head.  If blogging was as easy as thinking, I'd have tons of posts every day - and you probably would only read a small fraction of them. 

That brings me to the other reason I don't post a whole bunch of posts every day.  I know for myself that I have a hard enough time keeping up with the blogs I want to read and the wonderful people I've met online, but when someone posts more than a post or two a day, I just feel overwhelmed.  I know I'll never have time to read them all, and many times I won't read any of them, preferring to skip over them in favor of reading that one post from a blogger I haven't heard from in a while.  So, I'm hoping that if I don't overwhelm your reader (or your facebook page) you'll be more likely to read what I have to say when I say it.  Then again, maybe not - maybe that's just how I work.

That being said, today I'm going to be posting several times.  I've got to mention things like dermitage reviews and diet aids - there's a whole list, and they're all supposed to be done today.  I spaced them out as well as I could, but there's only so much I can do.  I'll try to make the most of each post, hopefully actually posting some of the things I've been thinking about for a while now but never actually gotten around to posting.  Or maybe something completely new and random will pop into my head, and I might even include a picture of a waffle on somebody's stove just for the fun of it!  Who knows.  I hope you'll read at least some of them.

Note:  I am in no way saying that I keep up with and read all the blogs I want to, even the ones with just a post or two a day.  It would be nice if I could, but...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Make Your Own Natural Cleaner

I'm watching Dr. Oz, and he was pointing out how toxic a household cleaner is and how it has all kinds of ingredients you can't pronounce or don't know what they are like Stimerex ES.  It's a cleaner I have in my cabinet - not because I really wanted to buy it, but because my bathtubs have this nasty hard water build-up that just won't go away.  So I bought some Lime-Away and tried it.  It got rid of some of the hard water build-up, but not nearly all of it.  So, was it really worth the toxicity?  I guess not.  I did buy another cleaner that is supposed to remove hard water build-up, but I haven't tried it yet.  I'm thinking of trying this recipe I got on the Dr. Oz Show first.  If it works, I can take the 2nd cleaner back, and if it doesn't work, I'm really not out anything, because it uses things I have around the house anyway.

Here's the recipe:
Home-made Natural Cleaner

  • Dissolve 1T Borax in 3T vinegar
  • Add 2 cups water and 1T dish soap
  • Shake well
You can also add some essential oil like peppermint oil to make it smell good and shake it up again.

I wonder if it will do anything to my hard water build-up?  I know vinegar is supposed to, but I can't get it to stay on long enough to do anything.  I just would prefer not to use a cleaner that can be really toxic.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Tired, Tired, Tired

Jeffrey was supposed to have today off, but he didn't.  Instead he went to work, because there was so much work to do, and I think someone else was supposed to come and work with him on a project or something.  So, today was just a regular Monday for me - laundry and catching up from the weekend - not that we had anything special planned if Jeffrey was home.

Thinking back on the day and trying to remember exactly what I got accomplished today besides laundry and ironing, I'm having a hard time remembering anything specific.  But I must have done something, because I'm really tired.  Good thing it's almost bed time!  Jeffrey went and played basketball for a couple hours after dinner, the first time the guys have gotten together this year.  He's looking a little tired, too.  Even if we were in the habit of taking sleeping pills, which we're not, I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be needing them tonight.  And I somehow think morning is going to come way to early.  Again.

Heads or Tails - Pack

Heads Or Tails

The theme/prompt for THIS week, January 19, is:

HEADS - "Pack"

Make any kind of post using any form of the word "Pack"

Every time we go anywhere, we always say we’re going to pack less – and every time we pack more than we need anyway.  We just tend to pack until the minivan is full!  One of these days I am going to have to get my friend Liz to show me how she does it.  I was talking to her when we were in Lexington.  She was all packed up to go home – with her laptop in its bag and everything else in this one carry-on size bag.  She says that no matter how many days she is going to be away from home, that is how she packs.  With airlines all wanting to charge extra for any checked baggage, I think we could all take a lesson or two from Liz.

I don’t know if there’s any such thing as quick weight loss diets for our overstuffed suitcases, but I did an online search for some tips on packing a suitcase.  Maybe some of them will be helpful.

and a video:

Now if I can just remember to refer to some of these the next time I need to pack for a trip.

Heads or Tails is a fun weekly meme created and hosted by Barb (aka Skittles) – feel free to join in!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gotta Love eBay!

Cory somehow lost the charging cable for his cell phone while we were in Lexington.  Since Beth is home now and both kids have the same cell phone, he has still been able to charge his phone by sharing Beth's cable.  And, amazingly, I haven't heard any complaining from her about sharing.  Today, Beth stopped into the USCellular store for something and checked to see how much it would cost to replace Cory's cable - $20.  I said, no, we're not spending $20 to replace a cable as long as she's home and they can share, so she didn't buy it.

Then, I started checking to see how much I could get one for online.  I found one for $10 with free shipping, then decided to check bing shopping to see if I could find a better deal with cash back.  I didn't see anything specific right away but ended up clicking on an ebay link and then refining my search on ebay.  I found the exact same cable for $1.88 with free shipping from Hong Kong (how do they afford to ship things for free from Hong Kong?) - so I ordered 3 of them, one for Cory, an extra one for Beth so she can keep one in the car, and an extra one just to have it.  I had an eBay Bucks credit for 44¢ which was deducted from my total, bringing it down to $5.20 for three cables - and then we'll get 45¢ cash back from bing.

So, under $5 for three cables, and USCellular wanted us to pay $20 for just one. I love a good deal!

How Much Can Three Cats Eat?

The thing with having three cats in the house is that we seem to be going through a lot of cat food.  Teddy always wants to eat.  If there's food in the dish, he just has to eat it, and if there's not food in the dish, he's trying to get the bucket open to get to the food, or begging someone to give him some.  If we let that cat eat as  much as he wants, we're going to have to go looking for the best fat burners for cats, because he's going to be huge!

Weasley likes to eat, and he always begs for our food, but if there's no cat food in the dish, it doesn't seem to bother him.  He's more than ready to run over and eat as soon as we put some food in the dish, though - and that's usually when Tillie begs for food.  She begs patiently, standing over by the food dish quietly, waiting for someone to notice her.  We have to lock the boys up or hold onto them when we feed her, though, because she won't eat when they're around.  I wish she'd stand her ground when the boys try to rush over, but she won't.  She only wants to eat a little and walk away, and then be able to come back and eat a little later.  The problem is, as soon as she walks away and the boys are let go, they rush over and finish the food - so the next time Tillie wants to eat, there's no food.  So we start all over again, and we have no way of knowing how much each cat is eating.

So, today I got each cat his/her own food dish, with a lid - they're actually 8-oz. dip containers.  I measured out half of what the food bag says each cat should get per day (about 3/4 cup) and marked the containers so we know how full to fill them, and I labeled each container with one of the cat's names.  Now, twice a day, we can fill the food dishes to the line, and feed each cat from his or her own dish.   They can each eat as much as they want, and when they walk away, we pick up the dish, put the lid on, and put it away.  If Teddy eats all his food in the morning, he waits until afternoon to get more.  When Tillie walks away, her food gets put away until the next time she wants it.

As long as we pay attention and remember to pick the dishes up when the cats aren't eating, it should work.  Hopefully.  And one cat won't be eating twice as much food as the other ones.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Camera Critters (#93)

When Beth brought her stuff back home, she also brought the cat she adopted when she moved down there, the cat that supposed to be for Tana.  But, since Tana isn’t living with her dad any more, she wouldn’t be there to take care of the cat.  So, Beth brought Teddy here.

Three cats in the house is a little much, but for now Weasley is really enjoying having Teddy here.  The boys like to play and snuggle, and just generally have a good time together.  Tillie just stays out of their way and may even be grateful that Weasley leaves her alone now that he’s got Teddy to play with – as long as Teddy leaves her alone, that is.

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

Friday, January 15, 2010

She's Back

I mentioned a while back that Beth had moved down to stay with my brother and help him take care of his 10-year-old daughter, Tana.  Well, that didn't last too long, because she's back

Tana spent Winter Break with her mom, and Beth came home and then went with Tim to visit his mom.  Then after Break, Tana decided that she wanted stay with her mom - so Beth didn't go back, except to get her stuff.  I think she's kind of relieved that she didn't have to tell her uncle that she didn't want to be there any more and wanted to come home.  It was kind of interesting hearing her talk about all the frustrations of dealing with a 10-year-old who had apparently never had to do anything she didn't want to do while living with her mom.  Some of the attitudes made me think, "Wow!  My daughter was just like that!"  But, of course, Tana is not Beth's daughter; she's her cousin, and should Beth really have to deal with that?

But since Beth is back, I'm beginning to wonder if the rest of us should really have to deal with that.  The attitude, the not being willing to do anything she doesn't want to do, the drama with Tim, the yelling, the stress.  It's enough to have me looking for oahu hotels hoping to get away.

Am I a bad mom for thinking how much more peaceful it was around here while she was gone?

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 41


I’m so glad there’s a meme like Looking at the Sky on Friday, because it means all the time I spend looking at the sky, and taking pictures of it, has a purpose! Click the badge for more info.

I took this with my cell phone Monday evening, because I was out, and I didn’t have my real camera with me.  I loved the pink on the clouds.

One of these days I want to get a digital camera that will fit in my purse – not just any digital camera, but one with at least 10x optical zoom.  There are a few really promising ones available, but I’m waiting for the price to come down because I’m cheap like that.  Whether I’m looking for digital cameras, clarks shoes, or school supplies, I just need to get the best deal possible.  In the meantime, I have my cell phone with me, and it takes pretty decent pictures, though there’s no zoom.

If you enjoy skies as much as I do, be sure to check out Looking at the Sky on Friday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The School Needs a New Site

I got an interesting phone call today.  Our school District Administrator, Mr. S. called to tell me that they are planning to redesign the school website and are having some people come in on Thursday to do some training.  Apparently it's supposed to be really easy, which is just what they need.  He invited me because he recently found out that I built the current school website - I'd link to it, but frankly I'm a little embarrassed and don't really want to claim responsibility.  Oh, it was so much better than what they had before, and still is, but it's been several years - so many that I can't remember how many, and it's gone downhill since.  It really should have been redesigned ages ago.

I'm thinking I'll probably go to the training on Thursday, because I'm interested in seeing what they have in mind.  I hope it really is simple - something that faculty, teachers, or even students can put together and keep updated. When I did the website, I learned to use FrontPage and built it with that, because that's the program they had in the school, and that's what they were going to be using to update things.  Now I really don't like FrontPage at all - don't even have it on my computer - and I think they'll get a much better-looking site, without a bunch of bloated code, by going with something else. 

Mr. S. said maybe I'd have some suggestions or ideas for them, and maybe I will, because I've learned a thing or two since then, but I'm also thinking I might pick up a few things I can use, too.  You never know.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'd Put a Title Here, if I Could Think of One

So, the last three posts have been memes - Looking at the Sky on Friday, Camera Critters, and Heads or Tails - and nothing in between.  Sometimes I wonder what I'd say or post if not for memes!  But then the whole idea of keeping things updated about what's going on here kind of falls by the wayside, not to mention all the other things I need to post or want to share - book reviews and giveaways, and even a thing or two about term life insurance quotes, but I'm not getting to it.  Real life just keeps getting in the way of blogging!

The real life that's getting in the way?  It's not even exciting, just basic, ordinary things that need done around the house.  The sad thing is that I feel like I'm spending less time on the computer and accomplishing less than I want to, but I still don't feel like I'm getting caught up around here.  I don't feel like I'm getting any more done in the real world  - just getting frustrated about what isn't getting done. 

Heads or Tail – Sweet and Sour

Heads Or Tails

The theme/prompt for THIS week, January 12, is:

HEADS - "Sweet"
TAILS - "Sour"

Make any kind of post about anything "Sweet" *or* anything "Sour."

I like sour more than I like sweet, but they’re pretty good together, at least in this recipe:

Sweet & Sour Meatballs
(called Waikiki Meatballs in the cookbook)


  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef, ground turkey (or a combination)
  • 2/3 cup cracker crumbs (20 crackers)
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 20-oz. can pineapple tidbits or chunks
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 green pepper, chopped


  1. Thoroughly mix ground meat, cracker crumbs, onion, egg, salt, ginger and milk. Shape into balls, place on baking sheet and bake at 350° until browned.
  2. When meatballs are done, in large skillet combine cornstarch and sugar. Stir in pineapple juice, vinegar and soy sauce until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Add meatballs, pineapple tidbits and green pepper. Heat through.
  3. Serve with steamed rice. We like brown rice and also some chow mein noodles on top.

Recipe from my favorite cookbook – The Best of Mennonite Fellowship Meals – and originally posted on my recipe blog here – Sweet & Sour Meatballs.

Heads or Tails is a fun weekly meme created and hosted by Barb (aka Skittles) – feel free to join in!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Camera Critters (#92)

While visiting my family in Kentucky, I not only got to meet my niece's horse Spice, I got to meet my brother’s cows.  He has a cow named Tilly – not exactly the same as our cat Tillie, but close.  Of course, that’s all they have in common!  He also has this mostly grown steer named Chucky Joe - who will soon be beef:  Yes, that's his job, and in the meantime he's very comfortable and happy.

Tilly was in her own stall since she was due to give birth any time.  She wasn't in a very good position for any pictures.  Since we were there, she had a little heifer calf named Cleopatra.  If you’d like some pics of that little critter, you can visit my brother’s blog New Kentucky Homestead.

This post has been edited because, as my brother so nicely pointed out, I did not take a picture of his cow Tilly.  :P

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

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 40


I’m so glad there’s a meme like Looking at the Sky on Friday, because it means all the time I spend looking at the sky, and taking pictures of it, has a purpose! Click the badge for more info.

When we were driving from Lexington to my Mom & Dad’s house, we saw these really interesting clouds in the sky.

Kind of looks like a UFO, don’t you think? 

If you enjoy skies as much as I do, be sure to check out Looking at the Sky on Friday.

Do Follow and Spam?

When I changed my template on Sunday, I forgot all about changing it so that comments are do follow.  When I went looking for the directions I originally followed, I couldn't find them - the page was missing!  So, I went searching for instructions and found these:
Edit your template HTML with widgets expanded and replace:

<a expr:href='data:comment.authorUrl' rel='nofollow'>


<a expr:href='data:comment.authorUrl'>
Basically, just remove the part that says rel='nofollow'.

I did a search (CTRL+F) for comment.authorUrl, deleted the nofollow attribute, and saved my template.

While looking for the directions, I noticed that some people have stopped making their blogs Do Follow because it encouraged spam.  I'm probably asking for it here, but I haven't had a huge problem with spam.  Sure, it happens every once in a while, and I did have one commenter who repeatedly left spammy comments on one post.  I had never used comment moderation until then, but now I have it set so that comments on any posts older than 30 days have to be moderated.  So far that seems to be a decent compromise.

Any comments?  Have you made your blogs Do Follow?  Does it seem to encourage spam, and if so, how do you handle it?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Collect Free Olympic Medallions from Coke and Mac's

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of All opinions are 100% mine.

The Olympics are next month!  I'm getting pretty excited.  I may not care about sports regularly, but when the Olympics roll around I love watching them.  My favorites are ice skating and snowboarding, but I will watch whatever is on.  I'm kind of bummed right now that I don't live in Canada, because I can't get a  FREE Coca-Cola Collectible Medallion by buying two (2) Coca-Cola 591mL products at Mac's stores.  That's right, if you buy two Coke products in one transaction, you get one of three Olympic medallions FREE.  This promotion just started Monday and runs through the end of February, but only while supplies last and only at Mac's.  So, visit the website and find a Mac's store near you, then run out and get your Coke and Olympic medallions before it's too late.  Of course, if you're buying Coke but don't really care about the Olympics (What?  Are you crazy?) you could always collect the medallions and send them to me.  I wouldn't complain.

I don't really buy a lot of Coke, but I definitely like it better than that other brand - and it makes a great mixer, if you know what I mean.  So, if I was going to buy it, I'd get some regular Coke and probably some Sprite, because that makes a good mixer, too.  And if I could get these free Olympic medallions, now would definitely be the time to buy so I could collect them all.  You Canadians are so lucky!

The Olympics are coming to your country!  Next month!

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ignore, Ignore, Ignore

I guess people are doing all kinds of things on Facebook that I'm completely unaware of - or at least paying no attention to.  I got a notification today that someone wanted to tag one of my photos, with a link to follow in order to approve the request.  So, I followed the link but couldn't find anything about a photo tag.  There were plenty of invitations to join groups or causes, gifts to accept from all kinds of various games and apps, hearts and smiles and hugs, drinks and teddy bears and questions about what I was born to do.  My so called friends have been throwing snowballs at me - and facebook wants me to click to find out what kind of snowballs they threw.  Snowballs come in cold and wet - is there really any other kind?

Anyway, I started scrolling through all these gifts, invitations, and attacks, but still didn't find anything about a photo tag.  So, I started hitting the 'Ignore' button - over and over and over.  Before, I really was ignoring all of them - but that just doesn't seem to work.  I ignore them and they still hang around.  So now I'm 'ignoring' all that stuff, and hopefully I will get through the whole list one of these days and find that photo so I can approve the tag.  And then, I guess I'll have to 'Ignore' these things as they come in, instead of actually ignoring them.

Check Out Everything This Phone Can Do

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of LG Chocolate Touch. All opinions are 100% mine.

You've probably seen the commercials about a certain computer operating system where various people claim that it was their idea.  Well, I'm going to claim that the LG Chocolate Touch was my idea.  Of course it's not true, but I did say ages ago that people should be able to carry one device that does it all.  Why should they need to carry a separate phone, music player, and digital camera?  My thinking didn't go quite far enough, though, because the LG Chocolate Touch does more than that.  Besides being a phone, mp3 player and a 3.2MP digital camera, it also lets you connect to the internet, keep up with your social networking on sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, edit the photos you take and use them for picture messaging or upload them to your blogs or social network sites, and so much more.  Check out the Full Specs to see everything you can do with this phone.  There's even Visual Voicemail, as well as top-notch text, picture, video, and voice messaging.

Since I'm home most of the time with access to my computer, I'm not sure how much I would personally use all the features on this phone, but for someone who is out and about a lot, it would be great.  With this phone, you can stay in touch from anywhere with the One-touch Social Network Message Key for easy use of Mobile Blogging (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.), all while enjoying your music, and without lugging a whole lot of different devices.

The sound quality is really good, judging by the example on the website - you can play with it by flipping the switch to experience the difference of Dolby Mobile technology.  It certainly sounds better than the phone I have!  You can also adjust bass, treble, or voice, based on your preferences.  They say the crystal clear sound is the next best thing to a live performance.  I'm sure my husband would really appreciate it, being a sound guy.  You can add up to a 16GB microSD card, so it will handle a lot of music, and pictures and video, and of course manage your phone contacts, too.  There are also some sweet Visual Effects and features, including Rhythmical Beat that vibrates the handset to the beat of the music and the ability to get into the music by adding your own drums, keyboards, or even cowbell to any song.

The only question I have is - why do they call it Chocolate when it's purple and/or black?  That and how do I get my hands on one of these so I can play with it?  It does look like fun, doesn't it?

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Heads or Tails - Square

Heads Or Tails
The theme/prompt for THIS week, January 5 , is:

HEADS - "Square"

Make any kind of post about anything "Square"

There are a lot of games available on Facebook.  I know because I see the posts by my friends, but I haven’t tried most of them.  I guess I’m just a little too afraid of being sucked in.  There is one game I play on Facebook, though – Lexulous:

It’s a game full of squares.  Most of those squares are white.  But there are some special squares on there, too – squares that double or triple your letter or word score.  Oh yes, I love those squares!  It’s especially fun to place a letter with a high point value on a triple letter score square, and then use it twice.

Well, enough of that.  I’ve got some letters to place on some squares so I can score me some points!

Except I can’t stop there.  As I was getting ready to hit ‘Publish’ a song popped into my head.  I was thinking of ‘Hip to be Square’ by Huey Lewis and the News, but when I went searching on YouTube, I found this Sesame Street version, and decided to share it instead:

Love it!

Heads or Tails is a fun weekly meme created and hosted by Barb (aka Skittles) – feel free to join in!

Let Alice Do the Shopping

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm trying to decide if I actually want to get out and go to the store this week.  Is there really anything we need badly enough that it's worth going out in the cold?  I'm strongly leaning toward NO.  I can start making a list of everything we're getting low on and wait at least until next week to go.

Unfortunately the things I'm going to need are things like eggs and carrots, not toilet paper and body lotion.  Otherwise, I could just shop at, and I wouldn't even have to go out next week.  If you haven't noticed - some people feel a need to get out of the house, but I'd much rather stay home.  I need a good reason to go out.  Anyway, if you haven't checked out Alice yet, you really should.  It's a really convenient site that lets you manage all your household essentials, like that toilet paper and body lotion I mentioned as well as a whole lot more - like coffee (definitely essential), laundry detergent, household cleaners, and even PopTarts.  For all the products, you can easily compare prices between the price and historical pricing data on other sites to see if you're getting the best deal.  In addition, if there's a coupon, Alice automatically applies it, and you don't even have to get out your scissors.  They say that a typical user finds $100’s in annual coupon savings without any extra work or newsprint hands.  And, on the shipping is always FREE!

The idea of shopping for household essentials without leaving the comfort of my own home really appeals to me, along with the automatic coupons and the free shipping - all things you know I love.  You can even set Alice up to remind you when you need to buy something, so you'll never run out of something important like toilet paper.

They've got another great thing going on, the Refer-a-Friend program.  For everyone you refer, Alice will track their purchases for an entire year, and give you 3% of those sales.  In addition, when they spend $50 on the site, they'll get a $10 credit.  So, if you haven't signed up for Alice yet, feel free to click on the image in my sidebar - and then spend lots of money there so my 3% will add up, OK?  *grin*  It's free to sign up, so you're not out anything, and you just might find that Alice is the best thing since sliced bread, or at least the next best thing to having someone do your shopping for you.

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Year New Look

I've been thinking for a while that I'd like a new look for this blog, but I just kept putting it off because changing everything sounded like a lot of work. Back when we were having our tile put in, I helped my friend Nancy set up a website for their business. Instead of building a traditional website, I had her set up a blog, because it will be a lot easier for her to update. When we picked the template she used for her blog - Eltrich Enterprises - I found one I really liked on the same site - this Wooden Fence template. So I downloaded it. I also noticed after I downloaded it that Misty liked it, too. I think we have pretty good taste. Or at least we must have similar taste, because she didn't end up using this template, but Misty did recently change the template on her blog - and she chose one that I'm using on my recipe blog!

It's been a while since I downloaded the template, but I finally decided to go for it. I went searching for a way to save my widgets first, because I really did not want to have to rebuild my blog lists and things like that. I found this really helpful article on keeping your widgets when changing your template last night and tried it out on my test blog. It worked! So, today when Jeffrey and I decided to just be lazy and hang around at home, I decided today would be the perfect time to update my layout.

I'm liking it! There are some similarities to my old layout, but overall it's a fresh look. It does have me thinking of Spring, and since we're in the middle of a cold winter, I'm wondering at the logic of that - but maybe it's just something to look forward to. Anyway, let me know what you think. Like it? Are there any display issues I may not have noticed? Let me know, OK?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Camera Critters (#91)


My niece Jessica recently got a horse – every young girl’s dream. When we were in Kentucky visiting, she took me to meet her horse Spice.

I’m going to have to go back when it’s a little warmer, and she’ll let me ride Spice, too. You can read more about Jessica's horse Spice on my brother's blog.

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