Monday, November 29, 2010

Texting Ban Begins December 1

In my opinion, it is not the act of talking on...Image via Wikipedia
From AAA:

Thanks in part to a national campaign sponsored by AAA, the act of composing or sending electronic text messages while driving will become illegal in Wisconsin effective Wednesday, December 1, 2010.
Wisconsin joins 30 other states in enacting this legislation, which prohibits behind-the-wheel texting via cell phones, laptop computers plus a host of other wireless communication devices. Authorized emergency personnel will be exempt as will the use of global positioning devices (GPS).
The Penalties for Texting
Under Wisconsin law, texting while driving will be classified as a primary offense, which means you can be pulled over and ticketed based on a text messaging offense alone. Violators will face fines ranging from $20 to $400.

Ban Backed by Public
This welcome reform stems from a groundswell of public support - punctuated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's findings attributing nearly 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries in 2008 to distracted driving habits - such as texting.
Additional findings have shown that individuals who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to be involved in a crash than non-distracted drivers. Wisconsin's new anti-texting law will help reduce this dangerous behavior and lead to safer roadways.
For more information on the dangers of distracted driving, plus tips on managing distractions, AAA encourages you to read The Facts About Distracted Driving.
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I don't do any texting so I don't really understand the obsession some people have for it.  I don't even feel comfortable talking on my cell phone for very long while driving or trying to find a contact in my phone.  I cannot imagine trying to send and receive text messages.  To me, it seems incredibly obvious that you should never text and drive - but obviously not.  Otherwise there wouldn't be a need for a law to prevent it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pier 1 for Those 1-of-a-kind Things

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are 100% mine.

Now that our house is freshly painted, with color on a couple of the walls, we're re-thinking some of our decorations.  All the old nail holes are still there, so we spent yesterday dusting and putting the artwork back on the walls, but I'm wondering if maybe it isn't time for an update.  frog lampMost of our prints are musical instruments with roses and sheet music.  People who know me and my 'love' of music think it's an odd choice, but I just liked how they looked when I bought them.  The only problem is I'm not sure what else I'd like.  It's not like I've ever really had any kind of decorating style.  And it's not something I usually think about much.  If I see something I love, that's what I get, and I just expect it to go with everything else I have.  Somehow.

Browsing the Pier 1 website, I think that's exactly what they offer - all kinds of interesting one-of-a-kind pieces that would be fun to have.  I'm not sure what theYoga Frog lamp would go with, except for all the other frogs I've managed to collect - that, of course, go with the musical instruments and roses.  But it's just fun, and on clearance!

Pier 1 also has some great items for holiday entertaining, which I'm glad I'm not doing this year because it's enough work putting the house back together without having to worry about having a house full of people - even if my friends and family will love me no matter how messy my house is.  Leave table runnerThey will, won't they?  This Tissue Leaves table runner would be perfect for a Thanksgiving table, though, and it's on clearance too.

I've never shopped at Pier 1, but the more I look around the website, the more things I see that I really need like.  There are some cut lamps and wine racks and some nice gift items.  All kinds of stuff. 

I think there's a store not too far from here, I'll have to check it out.  Also, any time in November or December, you can drop off a new unwrapped toy or make a cash donation at any register to support Toys for Tots - while shopping, of course.  Or 'Like' Pier 1 on facebook in November, and they'll donate $1 to Toys for Tots.

What catches your eye at Pier 1?

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Now We Need a New Comforter

We took the curtains in our bedroom down before the new windows were installed, and we decided it was a good time to get rid of them.  I liked them when we got them.  They weren't exactly what I wanted, but then I didn't know exactly what I wanted. I found them on clearance, and the color was right, so we put them up and didn't really give them much thought since.  Until now.

Since they were down, we went looking for new ones and found some we like better.  The only problem is that they're a different color green.  A nicer color green, actually, but now the comforter doesn't go with the curtains.  And, come to think of it, I don't really like the comforter all that much any more!  I guess that means I need to start looking at comforters and bedspreads to find something I like now, and that goes with my new curtains.  I'm not sure exactly what I want, but I'm sure I'll know it when I see it, because that's the way I work.

We got new brown curtains for Cory's room, and they go with his comforter really well, so I think we're good there.  He's got a really nice comforter - a birthday present from a good friend and sometimes mom - and he doesn't really live at home any more, so I'm not planning on shopping for new bedspreads for him or for his sister who doesn't live here either.  Her room did have blue and orange Illini colors painted on the wall, but now it's all white - Illini white, but still all white.  The bright orange Illini comforter is still just fine in there.  We put the blue curtains that were in Cory's room in there, and they look pretty good.

So somebody just remind me, when I'm looking at new bedspreads - they are not for the kids.  They are for my bed, and Jeffrey's.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Out with the Old...

The problem with getting all new roof and siding on the house is that you just don't realize how old and dirty things are, until everything is brand new and pretty.

Once they took the old screen door down, we realized that we just couldn't have them put it back up.  The old one was white and dirty.  I'm going to say dirty because of the tornado because we didn't really clean it up after, but it could have just been dirty from being on the front door all these years.  I suppose we could have cleaned it, but it still would have been white, and we were going to have to change it before too long.  So, we went ahead and bought a new one now.  The guys were going to have to put a screen door up anyway, so why not a new one instead of the old?  The new one is really nice - sandstone color to go with the house, and the screen retracts so that you don't even see it when it's all the way up.  And, the guys installed it so well, it closes so nicely.  The other one never seemed to work right.

We also had to get some paint to match the trim, and Jeffrey painted the post before it went back up - because it was white and dirty and just would not have looked right at all.  And we put new lights up outside, because we added lights on the front of the garage, and the light by the front door had to match those, and while we were at it, we figured the light by the back door ought to match, too.

There are still a few little details on the outside of the house that need taken care of,  hopefully this week.  They are going to put brand new buttons for the doorbell on - again, because the old ones look old and dirty.  They're also going to spray paint our flag holder the color of our trim before they put it back up, since the white is just the wrong color.

Then, the only thing left is for Jeffrey to paint the front door, because the maroon just does not look right any more.  Since we have the paint that matches the trim, we'll probably start by painting it that color and see how we like that. 

And that's only the outside of the house...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Smooth Operator

Those Teenage HopesImage by Gabriela Camerotti via Flickr
Going through some old magazines so I can toss them, I found this story in Reader's Digest.  It made me laugh so I had to share.
My teenager was headed to school one morning when I told him that the neck tag on his shirt was hanging out.  "I know," he replied.  "It's a fad me and some of the guys started."  Weeks later, as the style persisted, I commented, "I can't stand it!  Every time I see that, I want to fix it for you."  I gently tucked the tag in place and rumpled his hair.  "Yeah," he said, smiling slyly.  "All the girls do."
-Contributed by Laurie W. Sargent

Of course, my son never had to resort to such things. 
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 76

Looking at the 

Sky on Friday
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.

This is a sunrise from last week.  The sky was on fire.  Well, it looked like it anyway.

Sometimes it’s hard getting up early enough to see the sunrise in the mornings.  But I know that walking those two miles every morning means I don’t need hoodia diet pills, and seeing a sunrise like this is definitely worth it!

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

Singin' In the Rain - Glee

It's a video-posting kind of day, I guess.  I loved this performance from Glee Tuesday night and just have to share it here - just in case you missed it, or so you can watch it again.  Just so cool!

Also, Gwyneth Paltrow - amazing.

My husband doesn't understand why I like to watch this show.  He just doesn't get it.  I admit, I wasn't quite sure what to think at first, but thanks to my son I started watching and really started to enjoy it.  How about you?  Do you watch Glee?  How would you explain Sue Sylvester to someone who doesn't get it?
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He's in Trouble!

I woke up this morning to find dirt all over the living room floor.  That little brat Weasley got into one of my plants last night.  He dug it right out of the pot, and I found it across the room.  If cats could hire Federal Criminal Lawyers, I would have suggested he get right on the phone and call his lawyer! But they can't, and he didn't - but he definitely knew he was in trouble.

This isn't the first time he's messed with that same plant.  So I really should have thought about it, but I didn't.  Everything is messed up because of the painting.  Furniture is moved out from the walls, and all the plants got moved off the shelf and onto the floor - where they were just begging to be messed with.  And, for some reason, Weasley has it out for this particular plant.  I used to keep it on the end table, but he kept knocking it off and digging it up.  I don't know how many times I cleaned dirt off the floor and re-potted the poor thing.  Finally I gave up and set it outside to keep it away from him.  And then the tornado came through...

The pot got knocked over, and all the dirt spilled, and I thought that poor plant was a goner.  But I wasn't ready to completely toss it out, so I just plunked it into a pot of dirt.  Several weeks later, I realized that it still had green in the middle.  The stubborn little thing simply refused to die!  So, I left it outside all summer and then just recently re-potted it and brought it inside for the winter.  And, it was just fine, as long as it was on top of the shelf where Weasley didn't notice it.

But, he's so cute I can't stay mad at him.  I'm not gonna press charges.  This time.

If You See Her

I recorded this Brooks & Dunn CBS special way back in the summer or spring - whenever it was on - but I never got around to watching it until now. That's the problem with having the DVR in the basement. We record stuff we want to see, and then we never go downstairs and actually watch it. I tried several times to record the whole show to DVD, pausing on commercials so I didn't have to record them, and my DVD recorder kept locking up and ruining the DVDs. So, I finally gave up and just watched the show.

It was all good, but I particularly loved this performance by Lady Antebellum:

There was also a commercial for the Brooks & Dunn concert at Summerfest - the one we had tickets for but never happened - but that's a whole different thing. Still kinda bummed that we missed our last and only chance to see them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Get Your Master of Arts in Teaching Online

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of 2tor. All opinions are 100% mine.

The USC Rossier School of Education offers the opportunity for aspiring teachers as well as current teachers to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching through an online program.  The program combines highly interactive online learning with hands-on experience in your own area.  So, you can get an education from a School of Education which has been ranked #22 in the United States, and #9 among all private universities by US News and World Report without leaving your home area.  That means current teachers can continue with their current jobs while earning an advanced degree.

The program can be completed in as little as 12 months, and there are scholarships available as well as their ground-breaking tuition reimbursement program.  I'm not sure exactly how that works, but it would be worth looking into the program information to find out more.  Ideally, all teachers would get a great education at little to no cost - but that's just my opinion.  I just think that teachers are some of the most important people on the planet, and I'd like to see all of them equipped to do the best job possible for our children.  Earning a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from an internationally renowned research institution with a 100-year history of educating teachers to be agents of change sounds like a good place to start - especially if the tuition reimbursement makes it affordable.

Even though program participants study from home and enjoy the convenience and flexibility of online learning, they enjoy all benefits of being a USC student, including participation in commencement ceremonies and free lifetime Alumni Association memberships.  Check out the MAT@USC Student Blog for more information and to hear from actual students involved in the program.

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More Texting = More Sex

Teens who text 120 times a day or more — and there seems to be a lot of them — are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol and drugs than kids who don't send as many messages, according to provocative new research.
 I heard this on the news the other day, and my first thought was, who came up with the idea to study this?  Second, with all that time they're spending on sending and receiving text messages, how do they find time for sex or any other risky behavior?

After reading through the article, I see they're not saying that texting actually leads to sex or other risky behavior like drinking and using drugs, but just that they found an apparent link.  Is it just a coincidence?  Or is it as the study concludes - that a significant number of teens are very susceptible to peer pressure and also have permissive or absent parents?

What do you think?  How do we find that line between keeping an eye on our teenagers and stepping back and letting them grow up?

Bristol's Still Dancing?

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Teen activist ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
I'm happy that my two early favorites on Dancing With the Stars, Jennifer Grey and Kyle Massey, are still dancing.  They have both been doing such a great job.  I was rather shocked to see Brandy go home last night, because she has been doing a wonderful job.  I am also quite surprised to see Bristol Palin make it to the finals.  I thought she'd be gone a long time ago.  And, apparently so did a lot of  other people.

There's been a lot of talk online about the whole situation - how it's unfair, fixed, a Tea Party conspiracy, nobody would vote for her if it wasn't for her mother.  True?  Not true?  I don't really know.  I know there are people who think she shouldn't have been there in the first place and should have  just continued in her 'teen activist' role of talking to teenagers about abstinence and safe sex if you don't want to be looking for the best prenatal vitamins and having a baby way too soon.

What I do know is that Bristol is the most improved dancer this season.  They took a young girl who had never performed in any way and put her on a show that not only required her to learn to dance, the same as all the other contestants, but also required her to learn to perform in front of a crowd - and she stepped up and took the challenge.  She has come so far in the few short weeks since this season of Dancing With the Stars started.   Let's give her a little credit.

I don't think she deserves to win, or even to come in 2nd.  I'll still be voting for Jennifer, because I think she is the best dancer of the 3 that are left.   But I do think Bristol deserves some credit for the effort she's put in to make it this far.  And Mark, for helping her get there.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is Blogging a Real Job?

Now that both kids are out of the house, and one of those kids is in college, my husband said I should get a 'real' job.  He doesn't consider blogging a real job.  I don't keep very good track of how much money I actually make, but I do know I'm not making enough blogging or tweeting that I could pay the bills every month.  But since he makes enough to do that, mostly what I make just goes into the bank.  Once in a while I'll buy something off eBay, and I pay for my domain names with what I make, but I'm still using free hosting instead of paying for web hosting - partially because I'm cheap, but mostly because it works for me, so I don't see any real need to change.  So, I may not make much, but I'm not spending it on much either.

In the meantime, I'm home during the day so I can get the laundry done, fix dinner, bake bread, clean the house, and all the other things that need done around here.  OK, so I don't have to bake bread, but I enjoy it and he enjoys it, and it's one of the first things that would have to go if I wasn't home.  Also, since I'm working from home, it doesn't cost us anything for gas in order for me to get to work somewhere else, and we still have fairly low mileage on the van.  Which is good, because we plan to have it for a while - and then Cory wants it for his vehicle.

The downside to trying to get work done from home is that I find myself caught up in the laundry and cooking and cleaning and sometimes never actually sit down and do any blogging throughout the day.  A couple months ago I decided that I was going to sit down and devote a certain number of hours each day to actually working - no facebook, no entering giveaways, no cleaning, no cooking, no anything - just paid posts and reviews, to see how much money I could make if I really devoted some time to it, instead of just doing it when I can fit some time in.  But I didn't.  So, being away from home would make me ignore that stuff and actually work.  The only problem with that is that nothing gets done when I'm not home.  It just all waits for me.

'Real' job or not, I'm still going to need to find time to get it all done.  Or just figure out a way not to care whether it gets done or not...

Coming Soon - a CSN Stores Review

I'm so excited!  I'm going to be reviewing something from CSN Stores.  You've heard me talk about them before, and the CSN Stores giveaways I hosted were really popular.  With over 200 online stores to shop, you can find practically anything through CSN Stores.  You can get furniture, cookware, small appliances, children's luggage, bedding sets, lamps, rugs, and so much more. If you need it, I think they have it.

What I like best about CSN Stores, besides their great customer service and selection, is that you can shop at as many of their stores as you want and use just one shopping cart.  So you can get all your shopping done in one transaction.  And shipping is FREE on many items.

I'm really not sure what I'm going to choose, but I know I'll have fun deciding.  I'm thinking maybe a new comforter to go with my 'new' freshly painted room or maybe an address sign for the front of my freshly updated house, but I might pick something completely different.  You'll just have to come back later to see what I get and read my review. 

I really want to thank CSN Stores for this opportunity!

Come On, Come On, Come On

While I'm holed up in the basement, I'm trying to get some things accomplished.  I've been trying to go through some magazines and toss most of them out.  If Jeffrey had his way, I'd just toss them without looking through them, but I really want to go through them and pull out the things I'm interested in.  Yes, I know I've had them around for ages and lived just fine without knowing what was in there - but still!

I've already reduced an entire box of magazines to a stack of articles and recipes about the size of just one or two magazines.  I found this recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Bake in one of the magazines I went through, and I've made it twice since - so it's good I went through the magazines, right?  Today I started on another box and found that it was full of Kraft Food & Family magazines which are full of great-looking recipes.  Basically, I would be ripping the entire magazine out to save the recipes, and that doesn't really sound like I'd be accomplishing anything - except having a loose stack of recipes instead of having them neatly bound in a magazine.  So, I went to the Kraft Foods website and started looking up the recipes that looked good, and I added them to my Recipe Box there.  Well, I started adding them.  I've made it through one magazine so far. 

Part of it is that I'm finding a lot of recipes I'd like to try, making me wish I'd used those magazines more as they came in, but the other part is that either the Internet or my computer is so slow today.  Everything seems to take so much longer than it should, making it really hard to accomplish anything.

I am getting more and more frustrated with my computer every day.  Some days I'll type something and then sit there just waiting and watching what I just typed appear on the screen.  One.  Letter.  At.  A.  Time.  Arghhh!  All I can do is sit there and wait - 'come on, come on, come on, any day now!'  I think it's about time to clean it all off and start over again or find myself a new custom laptop so I can actually get some of the stuff done that I want to get done - without it taking all day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Living in the Basement

Somewhere in between installing the new windows in the house and patching the drywall in our bedroom, they found more damage.  Nail pops and drywall damage throughout the house - they thought from the lifting, shaking, twisting of the tornado.  So, they submitted it to the insurance company and got it approved to patch up the drywall and repaint the whole house.

So, the good news is that everything gets repainted and is going to look fresh and new.  Jeffrey has been talking about doing that for a couple years now, but I've been putting him off.  Because of the smell of the paint.  But, I can't put it off any longer.  Today they started painting.  They got Cory's room painted and then our bedroom and bathroom.  Tomorrow they move on to the living room, dining room and kitchen.

It's definitely going to look nice, but the smell has me living in the basement.  With the door closed, it isn't too bad down here.  It's already smelling a bit better upstairs, since the paint has dried and the windows have been open all night.  I just need to decide if it's possible to sleep up there, or if I have to sleep down here.

Give me every tip you have for getting rid of that paint smell as quickly as possible so, once they get everything finished, I can move back upstairs before too long.

A Relaxing Weekend, That's What I Need

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

This past weekend was definitely not relaxing.  It was the weekend for the school musical, and we spent a lot of time at the school helping out.  Now that our son has graduated, you'd think we wouldn't be involved any more, but it just doesn't seem to work that way.  Seriously, it would be a shame for the kids to put all that work into the production and then not be heard during the show, so Jeffrey will probably help with the sound as often as he can - though his goal is to get the school set up with some of their own equipment and a knowledge of how to use it so that they won't need him anymore.  We'll see how that works out.

After a busy weekend like that, I really would love to have a relaxing weekend to look forward to.  I was scrolling through some of these special packages at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing, and the Romance Package and Bed & Breakfast Package both sound like they'd be quite relaxing.  The only problem is that there's so much to do in Branson, that just getting away for some relaxation would seem like such a waste.  I'd want to get out and do some stuff - see some shows (there are 49 live entertainment theaters in Branson), visit some museums, theme parks, and have dinner and a show on a showboat, just for starters.  I really want to try out the zip lines, too.

The Fall in the City Package at the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel sounds like just the package for seeing a bit of everything Branson has to offer.  It starts at $309.50/night with a two-night minimum stay, and includes two tickets on the Showboat Branson Belle for dinner and the show, two adult tickets to Silver Dollar City, a 50th Anniversary Silver Dollar City Souvenir Book and a $25 hotel food and beverage credit! Definitely not relaxing, but it certainly sounds like fun.  I really want to visit Silver Dollar City one of these days, so that would be perfect, especially with the whole anniversary thing going on.   And if you're into shopping, there's a Shopping Package that includes deluxe accommodations, breakfast, and a gift card to the outlet mall.  I don't really love shopping, but I do enjoy a good outlet mall!

One of these days, I really want to get away for some fun in Branson.  I'm pretty sure it won't be very relaxing, because we'll be too busy having a good time.  If you've been to Branson, let me know what your favorite things are to do there - so we don't miss anything.

Visit my sponsor: Enjoy an exhilarating weekend getaway in Branson!
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...Featuring Norah Jones

The new Norah Jones CD ...Featuring comes out in stores tomorrow (11/16/2010), but I've been able to listen to it already - because I got an advance copy from One2One Network.  You can get your own copy of ...Featuring Norah Jones on Amazon.

I have to tell you, I am really enjoying this CD.  I love the concept.  The 18 songs on the album include cool cameos, collaborations and duets with such legends as Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton, and with 21st Century icons from OutKast to the Foo Fighters.  Over the past decade Norah Jones has worked with artists in many different genres and been featured on their CDs.  This collection brings them together in one place.

...Featuring Track Listing:
1. Love Me – The Little Willies
2. Virginia Moon – The Foo Fighters featuring Norah Jones
3. Turn Them – Sean Bones featuring Norah Jones
4. Baby It's Cold Outside – Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones
5. Bull Rider – Norah Jones and Sasha Dobson
6. Ruler Of My Heart – Dirty Dozen Brass Band featuring Norah Jones
7. The Best Part – El Madmo  
8. Take Off Your Cool – OutKast featuring Norah Jones
9. Life Is Better – Q-Tip featuring Norah Jones
10. Soon The New Day – Talib Kweli featuring Norah Jones
11. Little Lou, Prophet Jack, Ugly John – Belle & Sebastian featuring Norah Jones
12. Here We Go Again – Ray Charles featuring Norah Jones
13. Loretta – Norah Jones featuring Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
14. Dear John – Ryan Adams featuring Norah Jones
15. Creepin' In – Norah Jones featuring Dolly Parton
16. Court & Spark – Herbie Hancock featuring Norah Jones
17. More Than This – Charlie Hunter featuring Norah Jones
18. Blue Bayou – Norah Jones featuring M. Ward

Norah JonesCover of Norah Jones
There are a lot of artists on this list that I am not familiar with at all, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I love listening to Norah Jones - love her voice! - so it was a good way to get introduced to some of these artists.  The entire CD is enjoyable.  Some of these artists I may never choose to listen to again, but I really love the collaboration with Norah Jones.  For instance, I've never really liked Willie Nelson but his song on this CD - Baby It's Cold Outside - is one of my early favorites.  I love the one with Dolly Parton, too - but then, I've always loved Dolly.
“A lot of the people on this record are people I've worshiped since I was a kid, and some of them are younger and more my contemporaries,” says Norah. “Even though the musicians are so varied, the vibe of the songs makes sense when we put them all together.” 
The vibe of the songs - yeah, that's it.  I like the vibe of the songs.  This is one CD that I will be listening to a lot!  You can visit the Official Norah Jones website for more information, and be sure to like Norah Jones on Facebook.

I received a complimentary copy of this CD from One2One Network, and by posting this review I will be entered to win a gift card.  All opinions are 100% mine.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Hair Color Burn-Out

I'm wondering.  Is it OK to stop coloring my hair and embrace those gray color challenged hairs that insist on making my head home?  Is there a certain age?  Do I need to wait until I'm a grandma?  (Not that I'm ready to be making any birth announcements right now.)

I'm just getting frustrated with the whole hair color thing.  Maybe if I hadn't started coloring when I didn't need to just for the 'fun' of it...   Also, I'll probably have to cut it short in order to grow the roots out properly.  Probably.

Any suggestions?

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 75

Looking at the 

Sky on Friday
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 usually post my Looking at the Sky post on Thursday evenings, but I just ran out of time last night.  Our local high school is performing their Fall musical, Cinderella, this weekend, and Jeffrey is helping out with the sound again – even though our son is no longer a student and a star.  But they asked, and he said yes.  It’s just a shame for the students to put so much effort into the production and then have the audience not be able to hear them.

Ideally, the school would have their own sound equipment and someone to run it, but they don’t.  So Jeffrey helps out when he can.  So, last night we were at the school for the dress rehearsal night – performed in front of a small audience – and didn’t get home until almost 10pm.  And then my computer wouldn’t behave, so I had to restart and then it was time for bed – unless I wanted to stay up way past my bedtime and just rely on wrinkle eye cream to keep me looking good OK.

Anyway, it’s still Friday, so it’s not too late.  I had the picture picked out last night – just didn’t have the time to get it posted.

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

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Voice New Testament

Some people think that it's not the Bible unless it's the King James version of the Bible, but I like different translations.  I like translations that are actually written in English, in a language I can understand.  When I had a chance to receive and review The Voice New Testament (currently $8 from Amazon), I jumped at the chance.

The Voice is a collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists.  The goal is to help believers experience the joy and wonder of God's revelation.  It is a retelling of the story of the Bible in a way that strives to stay faithful to the ancient texts while giving the present day reader a respectful and moving experience of the Word of God.  They call it "A scripture project to rediscover the story of the Bible."

I have really been enjoying reading The Voice.  Some of the terminology they use is hard to get used to, like Liberating King for Christ, and ritual immersion instead of baptism, but overall it is really easy to read.  It reads like a good book and makes it easy to get a feel for the overall story of the New Testament.  As it says in the introduction: "The Voice brings the biblical narratives to life and reads more like a great novel than the traditional versions of the Bible that are seldom opened in contemporary culture."  And I think that's really the point - getting people to read the Word of God, and making sure it impacts them on a deep and personal level instead of just being words on a page.

I know I've been reading the Bible for years, but The Voice puts things in new ways and has me wanting to read more and seeing things in different ways then I've seen them before.  It's always good to have other translations available for study and to compare, but for just plain sitting down and reading the Bible, The Voice is great.  As far as study goes, I am particularly pleased with the Index to Biblical References in the back.  It starts in Genesis 1:3 and goes through the entire Old Testament listing where each scripture is referenced in the New Testament.  I don't know that it's every single reference, but there's quite a list.

I received a complimentary copy of The Voice New Testament from Book Sneeze in exchange for my review.

Shabby Apple: Dresses for Every Woman

I recently received a dress from shabby apple to review.  I had never heard of the site when I first got the email asking me if I'd like to review one of their dresses, so I had a look around and found several dresses I was interested in.  I love wearing dresses, especially in the summertime.

I ended up choosing the Oh La La with the red and white striped top and black skirt.  Though it looks like two pieces, it really is a one-piece dress.  Unfortunately, there was a problem with the zipper when I got the dress, so I had to take advantage of the shabby apple return policy - "Sizing concern? Not the right dress for you?  Return your dress and Shabby Apple will ship you a new dress for FREE!" - and send it back.

Returns are fairly simple.  You just print the form available on the site, fill it out and send the dress back - and shabby apple sends a new one.  The only thing that would be better would be if shabby apple would pay the postage for returning a defective dress.  For a different dress or different size,  I think it's fair for the customer to pay return postage.  I did change my mind and my size while I was at it, but still...

Notes on the dress say that it 'Fits Generously' and I took my measurements and ordered the size I needed according to those measurements, but it was a bit tighter than I liked - so I ordered the next size up when I sent it back.  And I ordered the La Tour Eiffel, which is the same dress just with black and white stripes on the top instead of red and white.  What do you think?
So it's not the best picture ever, but isn't the dress cute?  It's comfy, too and even has pockets!  I've only worn it once, but when I did, my son told me I looked nice.  Can't beat that!

Take a look around the shabby apple site and see if they have something you like.  If nothing else, look at the pictures and read the stories - every dress has its own.  You can shop by body type, shop by categories such as flirty, sophisticated or essential, or simply browse their collections.  I've already added several more shabby apple dresses to my Wish List - like this one!

I received this dress free of charge from shabby apple in exchange for my review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Forgot the Ramen!

I went shopping today for the first time in weeks - not counting the trip to Sam's on the day Jeffrey was supposed to have surgery.  I started a list a few weeks ago, and I've been adding to it as I think of things we need.  Ramen was definitely on the list, because Cory practically lives on the stuff, and he's out.  Oh no!

Now what?

Will his dad stop at the grocery store tomorrow and pick up the forgotten ramen?  Will he have to go out and buy his own ramen?  Will he need to find something like malibu drug alcohol rehab treatment center to help him break his ramen addiction? 

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Time to Change my Laundry Routine?

I've been doing laundry on Mondays for years.  Why Mondays?  I really don't know, that's just what I started doing, and I've just stuck with it.  I used to get all the laundry washed, dried, folded and put away, except for the towels which Jeffrey would usually fold on Monday nights.  Then, as the dryer got older and things took longer and longer to dry, I found that I didn't have time to get the towels done on Mondays.  So I started washing towels on Tuesdays.  Also, as the kids got older there was more and more laundry to be done!

I suppose that's to be expected with teenage girls - it's amazing how many times one girl can change clothes in one day!  Of course, wearing an outfit for just part of a day does not make it dirty, and those clothes do not need to go into the laundry.  But still, everything seemed to end up in the laundry anyway.  Mostly because everything first ended up on the floor - and it was a whole lot easier to throw it all in the laundry on Monday mornings than to actually put it away.

I'm not sure what the reason excuse was for all the boys clothing that started ending up in the laundry.  Some weeks Cory had probably twice as many t-shirts in the laundry than there were days in the week!  I don't think he wore them all.  And then, there were all his jeans...

Nowadays I'm noticing a huge difference in the size of my loads of laundry.  Beth moved out, and Cory's away at college so he's either doing his laundry there or bringing it home on the weekends and doing it while he's home.  So, when I get ready to do laundry on Mondays, I feel like there's practically nothing to do.  Last week I think I only had two loads, and they weren't even completely full.  I might be able to move towels back to Mondays.  Or maybe I could just do laundry every other week? 

Time for Flannel Sheets?

November 9, and my outside thermometer says it's 69°!  Sunny and almost 70° degrees in November - gotta love it!  It got chilly this past weekend so we actually had to break down and turn the furnace on, but I turned it off again yesterday and even had some windows open for a while.  It was laundry day and time to change the sheets on the bed.  Because of the chill of the weekend, Jeffrey said he wanted the flannel sheets on the bed, but I had a hard time actually putting them on when the day was so warm.  I did it anyway, because it gets cooler at night, and it's supposed to be cooler by the end of the week.

While I was at it, I went ahead and put the electric blanket on the bed, too.  Hopefully we won't have to actually turn it on anytime soon, but we'll have it when we do.  Since I always forget which way the blanket goes so that the control on my side of the bed controls my side of the blanket and the control on Jeffrey's side of the bed controls his side of the blanket, I noted it on my LiveJournal several years ago - so I can look it up when it's time to put the electric blanket on the bed.  You'd think I'd remember one of these days.  But I don't.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Carmex, for Healthy Lips and Happy Skin

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

It's not even winter yet, and my hands are already getting really dry.  Some years it's so bad that they crack and bleed.  The problem is that I always seem to have my hands in water - dishes, cooking, cleaning - and all that going in and out of water is really hard on the hands.

Carmex Healing Lotion and Healing CreamI'm always looking for a hand lotion that really works, that will at least keep my hands from getting to the cracking and bleeding stage.  So I jumped at the chance when SocialSpark asked if I wanted to try Carmex® Healing Lotion and Carmex® Healing Cream. I had been thinking of trying it anyway, ever since I heard about the New Carmex Skin Care Products on the news this summer.  I just kept forgetting to look for it when I went to Walgreens, probably because I don't really have a problem with dry skin in the summer.

Now, just in time for the winter, I received a full-size tube of the Healing Lotion and the Healing Cream, as well as a 1-oz. tube of the lotion which is perfect for carrying in my purse!  I have been using the Healing Cream on my hands every night.  It contains 9 healing ingredients to penetrate and help repair your very dry, rough or cracked skin - which exactly describes my hands.  I've mentioned before that smells bother me, so not only do I need a  lotion (or cream) that works, I need one that doesn't smell all perfumey.  In the news story, Carmex Company President Paul Woelbing said that coming up with the fragrance was the most difficult part, and I just want to say that they did a great job!  This Carmex lotion has a very pleasant fragrance.  Another thing I really like about the Carmex Healing Cream and Lotion is that it is not greasy, and it absorbs into my skin really well.  That is really important to me.  It feels really nice.

What you really want to know, though is - does it work?  I've only been using it for a couple weeks, but from what I can see so far, it works really well.  When I first started using it, my hands were so dry they were starting to hurt.  I've been putting the Healing Cream on every night before bed, and my hands feel nice and soft right now.  That's right, I'm only using it at night - because I usually can't bring my self to put lotion on my hands during the day, knowing that in about 5 minutes I'll just be putting my hands in water again - but this Carmex Healing Lotion is still doing a very good job.

These Carmex Skin Care products are available only at Walgreens, and and sell for $5.99.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Don't Forget

Change your clocks and check the batteries in your smoke detectors - and enjoy an extra hour of sleep!

Camera Critters (#135)


After the performance of The Calico Tiger yesterday, the cast answered some questions from the audience.  One of those questions - “Why is there a blue unicorn?”

He’s a rhino!  And he was a very good rhino, too!

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

Friday, November 05, 2010

Browser Frustration

I've had a few comments recently on a couple other sites I have telling me that they're messed up in Opera.  I don't have Opera on this computer, so I couldn't check it - until I remembered that our downstairs computer has Opera.  So, this morning after the play I went down and checked them out.  They both looked OK to me.  Then I upgraded Opera to the latest version, and they still looked OK.  So I don't really know what the issue is, which means I can't do anything to fix it.

Also, I've been told that the pictures on this blog aren't showing up properly in Internet Explorer - though I haven't checked that out for myself because I just can't bring myself to open that browser unless absolutely necessary.  I'm not completely surprised, though, because IE is known for causing design problems.  Why Microsoft can't just play by the rules like everyone else, I just don't know.  It's really frustrating, because no matter how hard you try to get a site to look just right, chances are it's going to look wrong in IE.  And sometimes there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.  You might be able to decide exactly which web directory (or directories) you want to submit your site to, but you don't get to decide exactly what that site is going to look like on everyone's screen.  Yeah, frustrating.

And now Opera is causing problems for some people, and one of my other sites looks really messed up with Chrome, and I just don't know how to fix it.  If you're using IE or Opera, let me know how this site looks for you, as well as bcmom's kitchen and Congregational Fellowship, if you would.  Thanks.

Rave Reviews!

I went to the elementary school this morning to see a performance of The Calico Tiger.  Because, how could I not?  It was right here in town, and I kinda like that guy who plays the tiger!

I don't know about the lipofuze reviews, but the reviews from this play have all been positive!  Everyone said they did a really good job.

It was really fun seeing them perform for a gym full of kids.  There were a few kids in the audience when we went Saturday, but it's different when the audience is mostly kids.  I loved seeing the kids' reactions and hearing them laugh at the antics of the animals.  It was also fun to talk afterwards to some of Cory's teachers from elementary school.  Until this morning, they hadn't realized he was in the play, so that was a pleasant surprise. They really enjoyed seeing Cory come back and perform.

I got good reviews, too when they realized I made COOKIES!

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Looking at the Sky on Friday - 74

Looking at the 

Sky on Friday
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.

Something about today’s sky just said “Fall” – the blue sky, the clouds, the way the clouds moved, the light, something.

Gorgeous!  Every once in a while I thought we might get some rain, but it didn’t do much more than sprinkle once in the afternoon.  There was no need to pull out the rain boots or the rain jacket.  I just slipped my sandals on and went out to get some pics.

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

Filing an Insurance Claim

The work is almost done on the house, and we got the 2nd check from the insurance company yesterday, so we'll be able to pay our contractor for putting our house back in shape.

We never had to make an insurance claim before (Thankfully!) so it's been educational seeing how it works.  First the adjuster came out and looked at everything, took pictures, made notes, and then he submitted everything to the office.  Then they had to go over everything and determine how much they thought it should cost us to get everything on the list fixed, and they sent us a check for that amount - minus a certain amount that they held back until we actually got the work done.

In the meantime, we got quotes from several contractors and found out that the amount the insurance company said it should cost and the amount it would actually cost to get things fixed, were not the same.  And that is the contractor's job - to work with the insurance company to get to a number that they both can agree on.  So we chose a contractor, and he worked with the insurance company and got everything approved.  And this second check is the rest of the money we need to pay for the actual repairs.

Of course, we have to pay the deductible and for the windows that we chose to replace, but the insurance company is paying to repair all the damages from the tornado.  Which is why we have insurance in the first place.  We hope to never actually have to use it, but we need to have it just in case - just in case a tornado comes through!

The same goes for life insurance.  It's something we never want to actually use, and many people avoid altogether.  It's almost like we feel that just looking at individual life insurance rate quotes is inviting trouble.  We don't feel that way about other kinds of insurance, like homeowners or car insurance.  I wonder why life insurance is different?  All I know is that we don't want to use it and hope never to need it, but I feel better knowing we have it.

10 Rules for Students Applying for College

When it came time for Cory to apply for college, we didn't really know where to start.  He wasn't even sure where he wanted to go or what he wanted to do.  We really could have used some guidance.  So, I thought this list from Fastweb might be helpful for those who are just now starting this process.
10 Rules for All Students Applying for College:
  1. Talk To Your Counselor. Between the books in the counselor’s office, and the knowledge in your counselor’s head, he or she will be a virtual treasure trove of information. Take advantage of the opportunities you have to work with a counselor to make plans for your future. Many counselors know more than any one book or website, and they are generally always willing to share their knowledge.
  2. Stay In Touch With Your Counselor. Selecting a college is not a one-step operation. In order to really help you make a decision, the counselor is going to need to get to know you. The only way for the counselor to do that is for you to take initiative and go meet with him or her. Also, most counselors are not just there for information. They really are truly counselors, and they are also there to help you with your decision, help you solve your crises, or to just calm you down when you’re really stressed out.
  3. Do Research. The way to begin the college process is to get online or crack some books and start discovering what’s out there. Use the resources in your counselor’s office. There are great websites such as that, if you have taken the PSAT/NMSQT, are free opportunities to begin your college search. (On MyRoad, you start by taking a personality test. The site then generates a list of suggested majors and career possibilities, complete with a ranking system for how well they think this career will work for you. Then you can browse through their college index and find the right colleges with the right majors for you.) Visit and take the My College Style and All About Me tests. Like MyRoad, these resources are free with registration, but these tools are not limited to students who have taken the PSAT. Don’t forget to research ways to pay for college by visiting sites like, a free scholarship search engine.
  4. Get Started Early. It’s never too early to start researching colleges, even if you don’t have a clue where to start. Just get out there and research something. Start now!
  5. Don’t Procrastinate. This is one of the greatest decisions you’ll ever make, and you could end up missing a great opportunity. You shrug this off like it could never happen, but it does happen all the time. Case in point: Last summer I toured a highly selective college near the nation’s capital and instantly fell in love. As the year progressed, and I applied to other colleges, it became apparent that it was very unlikely that I would ever go there, but I did keep the January 10th deadline in the back of my mind. However, at around 11:00 p.m. on Jan. 9th, when I hadn’t even looked at the application, I realized that I might have just let a great possibility slip through my fingers. I’ll be alright, since I might attend a military academy anyway, but there will always be that “what if?” factor at the back of my mind.
  6. Listen To Your Parents. I know you never do this (trust me, I’m like everybody else – I don’t want to either), but they’re there to help you. Having help makes it easier to handle all of this pressure and responsibility—and means you don’t have to handle it on your own. Also, remember that even though this is your future, your parents, in most cases, are the ones paying and the ones who got you where you are. They’re part of the decision too.
  7. Don’t Let Your Parents Do Your Work For You. They’re there to help you, but not to pick up your slack. The most they should ever do for you is research. Let them look up some information for you and go over it with you. It’s then your job to apply that information, fill out the forms, and write the essays yourself.
  8. Open Up Your Mind. Talk to reps of colleges you’ve never heard of. Don’t be fooled by big names and Ivy Leagues. There are so many more great opportunities out there. IN ORDER TO FIND THE PERFECT PLACE FOR YOU, YOU WILL HAVE TO OPEN UP YOUR MIND.
  9. Visit, And Visit Early. How can you make such a huge decision without ever having seen the college? You could fall in love with Hendrix College in Arkansas, even after thinking “no way” when someone told you what state it was in. Or, you could get up to Boston and realize that Harvard is way too uptight for your taste. You have to experience colleges first hand. If you can’t visit, getting good information is critical to making the right decision for you.
  10. Don’t Let The Pressure Get To You. Yes, this is a big decision, but it’s not the end of the world if you make a mistake. People transfer and switch majors much more often than you think. There’s still plenty of time for all of you to find the right place for you. Just keep your options open and always have a back up plan. With a little effort on your part, things will work themselves out for the best.

Cory is happy with where he is and what he's doing, so it all turned out OK, but some kind of plan might have been nice.

Mmmmm, Cookie Dough!

Raw cookie dough in cookie clumps.Image via Wikipedia
I just finished making those cookies for Cory.  It wasn't until I got to the very end that I realized that I hadn't eaten any cookie dough.  Usually I can't help myself and eat enough cookie dough to have me feeling bad because of all the sugar and wondering if I'm going to have to worry about diet pill side effects.

I'm not sure what the difference was today, but to make up for my neglect, I cleaned off the spoons I used to drop the cookies onto the cookie sheets.  It was really good cookie dough!  And, of course, I had to try one of the cookies while it was warm and soft, and that wasn't half bad, either!

Now, I wonder how many of these cookies I'm supposed to bag up for that son of mine....
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Because I'm the Mom

I mentioned that Cory is in his first college play and going to be here at the elementary school in town on Friday.  So, since I'm planning to be there, Cory left me a message on facebook asking me to bring him some stuff.  He wants his quilt and his old watch.  Sure.  I can do that.

And then, another request:
also. if you have time this week, and if you want Allison, Blaine, Anthony, Ham, Ebeth and I would love it if you'd make us treats to eat on the way to racine. :P
Cookies? brownies? Rice Crispies? Chocolate Covered Pretzels. something fun and tastey to snack on in the Dodge Grand Caravan. XD

because you LOVVVVVVE me.
He expects a lot, doesn't he?  But, since I'm the mom, and I really do LOVVVVVVE him, I'll be baking some cookies tomorrow.  He better appreciate it!

It's good, though - because I like to bake cookies, but we certainly don't need a whole batch around here!  The recipe makes so many I can't get them all into the cookie jar.  Being able to share them with the Calico Tiger cast will save us from needing any of the top fat burners available.  Well, it will save Jeffrey anyway.  I like the cookies, but they don't call to me the way they do to him.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Cat Hair. Everywhere.

Does anybody know if there's some kind of hair loss product for cats that would help them keep their hair on their bodies instead of leaving it all over my furniture and everywhere else?

I cannot believe how much cat hair gets all over everything - the footstool where Weasley likes to lay, as well as his favorite cushion on the couch, and the back of the couch where he can lay and look out the window.  The comforter in the basement that Tillie loves and her rocking chair.  And then there are the hidden places like the side of the couch where the cats squeeze through between the couch and the end table.  We don't see that until we move the couch.

I cleaned the couch and footstool with Mr. Sticky today, but I really need to vacuum, too.  The fun with that is that it looks like I've vacuumed up an entire cat by the time I've gone over one room!  It makes me wonder how those two have any hair left at all.

How Long Can it Last?

It's November, and I'm putting off turning the heat on as long as possible. We did turn it on the first night we came back from Utica, but I turned it off the next day because the weather was so nice, and I wanted to have the windows open.  Thankfully we have had wonderful weather, through most of October.  It's been great for all the work we're having done on the house.

New MotorcycleYesterday Jeffrey and I went for a little walk around the neighborhood, checking on some of the other houses that are being redone and rebuilt.  It was so nice Jeffrey said we ought to go put on our leather jackets and riding boots  (and gloves) and go for a motorcycle ride.  And we would have, but since he just had surgery on Wednesday, it wasn't a good idea. 

We'll just have to hope that the nice weather holds on for a bit longer.  I won't have to turn the heat on in the house, and maybe we can have one last ride before he puts the motorcycle away for the winter.

I Can Hardly Wait

A Australian Green Tree FrogImage via Wikipedia
They started putting the siding on the house last Monday.  They started with the side of the garage and did that whole side of the house.  They just started around the corner to the back of the house, and then they called it quits for the day.  And then the WIND came, so they didn't come back the next three days, and then they went hunting on Friday.  So, we've had to wait a week for them to come back.

When they're here, they really work hard.  They showed up this morning and started at the back of the house where they left off last Monday, and they've worked their way around the house all the way to the front.  I don't think they're planning to have it all finished by the end of the day, but they are certainly getting close!  Maybe by tomorrow the siding will all be on.

All week, when I walked around the corner on the end of the house that was done or drove down the street coming home, I just had to look, of course.  I am loving it!  Like I said before, picking colors is hard.  It's so hard to picture exactly what it's going to look like from all those little samples, and you don't know exactly what you're going to get until it's actually on the house.  I almost didn't go with this color siding because there's one other house in the neighborhood with this color, and the colors they chose to go with it just do not work.  Thankfully they picked the color, because I would not have thought of it if they hadn't, but the trim and roof?  What were they thinking?

Thankfully, we picked some colors that are looking really good together.  Because, once you put them on the house, it's too late to do anything about it if they don't look good.  Now, that we've got the roof, trim, and some of the siding on the house - wow!  I can hardly wait to see the whole thing finished - roof, siding, windows, trim, gutters, new outside lights.

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