Thursday, July 28, 2011

This is My Son

Cory and several of his friends went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 on his birthday – July 15th.  I let him take my small camera so he could get some pictures of all the fun, and then he left it with one of his friends.  Good, because he made sure the camera didn’t get lost by having her put it in her purse.  Bad, because he didn’t see her again until this past Saturday night.

Anyway, I just copied all the pictures off the camera onto my computer, and I just had to share a couple.  This is my son:

There were quite a few more.  It looks like they had fun.  They enjoyed the movie, too.  I haven’t seen it yet.  Hopefully soon.  I don’t think I’ll be posing in front of any movie posters, though.

Refinancing to Save Money

OK, we've actually got some paperwork here so we can go ahead and refinance our mortgage.  The interest rate dropped a couple times to 3.6something%, but it's pretty much settled at 3.75% for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage.  It would be nice to catch it at the lower rate, but the 3.75% is significantly lower than what we're paying now, and the required monthly payment will only go up about $20.  Like I said before, with the lower interest rate, if we continue to pay what we've been paying each month - required payment plus a bit extra - we will save thousands of dollars.

We have been thinking about doing this for a while, but at the same time we were thinking that we might have to call a Realtor and put the house on the market.  We weren't sure if we'd actually come out ahead, even with the lower rate, because there are a few fees to pay when refinancing - so we'd have to be able to recoup that cost before we'd actually start saving money.  But, we're still here, and FHA Refinance Rates are good, so we've decided to go ahead with it.  It should be pretty simple, since we're refinancing with the same bank and everything - just a matter of going over the paperwork and signing, so hopefully we'll get it all taken care of and locked in at a good rate before too long.  So we can start saving those thousands of dollars.

Now would be the perfect time for active duty military personnel and veterans to look into VA Refinancing to see if the lower interest rates can help save them some money.  They say a 1% reduction can save $100 to $600 per month, which can come in very handy for paying the rest of the bills.  Or, like us, plan to continue paying the same amount every month but reduce the length of the loan and the total amount of interest paid.  Either way, it's definitely worth looking into, but of course everyone has to make the best decision for their families.
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StretchingImage via Wikipedia
We recently got DirecTV's Cinemaplus, which gives us all kinds of TV shows and movies on demand.  There's a whole list of exercise shows, most of them 10 minute workouts that focus on one thing or another.  I figured I'd try some of them, especially since it's been raining the past two mornings so I couldn't go for my walk.  But, really - how much of a workout can you really get in 10 minutes?

Come to find out, a lot!  I tried one workout last Friday after I got back from walking.  Usually I do some crunches, lift a few weights, and stretch after getting back from my walk, so I figured why not choose one of these workouts instead?  I did one for buns and thighs, and it felt pretty good, but, really - 10 minutes?  But boy was I sore the next morning!

Yesterday I did three different workouts, and today I'm really sore.  Of course, it's a good sore which tells me I actually did something, and it also tells me that I need to mix my workouts up a bit more and work different muscles.  I guess I'm just going to have to try out all the different workouts!
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Stuff I Forgot

After I published my 'Tuesday Tidbits' post yesterday, I kept thinking about the things I forgot to include.  While I was enjoying the wonderful weather  yesterday and soaking up some sunshine, I had all kinds of things going through my head that I was going to include.  Except that I was reading while I was out on the deck, so it must have been while I was working in the kitchen...

Oh well, whenever it was, I really need to figure out how to hold onto all the stuff that goes through my head before it's gone forever.  Blogging is supposed to help, but I have to actually get it posted for that to help.  Maybe I could get some kind of voice recorder to carry around with me?  Or I could just start a new weekly post called "What I Forgot Wednesday" and include all the stuff I forget to post Tuesday?  I bet there's no such thing as blogger's disability insurance that I could start collecting because I'm just not able to keep up, is there?


We woke up this morning to the sound of rumbling thunder.  As Jeffrey was leaving for work he told me I needed to come see the clouds.  So I grabbed my camera.  They were pretty cool – storm clouds moving in.

I wish I could have caught some of the lightning that flashed through them, but I’m not that lucky.  I watched the clouds for a bit, until I started getting wet and then retreated inside the house.  Since then we’ve had, not continual rain, but periodic downpours.  The yard and the garden can definitely use it, but I catch myself wondering if I really want to go out today.  Not that I think I’ll melt if I get wet, but it’s more the kind of day for curling up with a good book.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

It's Tuesday again!

I'm loving this Cranberry Daiquiri Slush recipe so much that I made another batch today.  Only I used some Cranberry Apple juice instead of the cranberry juice cocktail, and I used some Mojito Mix I had - which is basically lime juice, sugar, and mint - because I don't have any limes.  I'm not sure how the mint is going to be in it, but it smelled good, and I'm just loving the slushy tartness of the whole thing.

I opened the windows this morning.  I wasn't going to because it's just supposed to get hot again, but it was so nice that I just couldn't help myself.  But then, of course, today was the day they decided to do some work on the street.  They went by once with something that stirred up a ton of dust, so I had to hurry and shut all the windows to keep it from coming in.  Then, about the time I'd opened the windows again, they came through again - once again time to close the windows.  The rest of the day was pretty good, until they came through again doing something dust-free but smelly.  Really?  They couldn't do this on a day when my windows are all closed?  I think it's a conspiracy.

Cory doesn't have to work tomorrow so I'm thinking of running to the grocery store.  After all, I need limes!  And bananas, and...  Well, if I'm going to the store, I better get busy and make a list.

I'm re-reading the Harry Potter books.  I've been wanting to for a long time, but I always end up reading something else.  Finally, I decided to just do it.  I'm a little over half-way through the second one - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - and I'm just going to read them straight through. I've only read them once, and seen all the movies, of course - so it's about time.  Cory has read them countless times, but he's a really fast reader.  I wish I could read as fast as he does, and remember everything too.

I've been putting horizontal lines between all these tidbits.  I can't remember if they'll actually be visible with this blog template.  I'm thinking I need to come up with some kind of special divider/graphic for Tuesday Tidbits - just because.

Oh, the weekend?  We were pretty much bums and didn't do anything.  Well, church on Saturday, but then we came home early because Cory had a thing at the library.  And then Sunday Cory had to work, and Jeffrey and I just stayed home and did stuff around the house.  I finished the first Harry Potter book and started the second.  Well, I didn't actually start.  I just pulled it off the shelf and put my bookmark in the front - ready to start.

I think that's enough for this edition.  Tune in next week for a random list of stuff happening in my life and going through my head.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Does Anyone Really Write Checks Anymore?

I remember when we had to actually write checks and stick them in the mail to pay our bills.  Nowadays I go months between writing checks.  A book of checks can last me years.  I have all the bills either set up to pay automatically every month, like the car payment, internet, phone, and DirecTV, or I pay them online through my bank's website or the individual creditor's site.  There are a few places that aren't actually set up to take electronic payments, but I still don't have to write a check for those.  I can have my bank do it.  And, since I can do that, why would I want to write a check out by hand, stick it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and actually mail it?

That's why I can't figure out why the Wisconsin Department of Transportation actually expects me to do just that.  When it's time to pay the car registration for the year, I actually have to mail the card they send back to them - in an envelope with a check.  Oh, I could pay online, but they'd charge me an additional fee, which I refuse to pay.  Why should it cost more to pay online?  It seems to me that they'd rather have people pay online because it would save them some time messing with paper checks, but what do I know?  Tomorrow I'll write a check and mail it off to renew Jeffrey's license plate sticker.  But I don't have to like it...

I know there are people who don't feel comfortable with it, but I think all banking, bill paying, etc. should be done online - or the option should at least be available.  I know our bank encourages it.  They say the electronic transactions are safer than handwritten checks - besides being more convenient for me.  It's even possible to email money to anyone with an email address and a US bank account, though I've never tried it. (No, I'm not taking volunteers!)

I have been checking our bank's website recently to keep an eye on mortgage rates, because we want to catch it as low as possible when we refinance.  It's also a good way to check CD interest rates and compare a Roth IRA with a traditional IRA.  Now that Jeffrey is 50, he can contribute an additional $1000 per year to either one of them.  (Just had to mention it)   The information is updated every day and all available without actually having to talk to a person, and that I like a lot.  When it's time to actually lock something in and sign papers, we'll have to talk to a real person, but until then I'm doing it all online.

Except for that check I have to write...

Can I Open the Windows Yet?

When Jeffrey came home from work tonight, he asked if I was feeling all right. I didn't know what he was talking about, and then he said that he thought I would have turned the air conditioning off and opened the house up.

I was wanting to, but the forecast this morning looked like it was going to be relatively nice today and then heat right back up tomorrow and stay hot for the rest of the week.  (I use the word 'hot' loosely because my idea of hot and everyone else's idea of hot seem to be different)  So, to avoid complaints from my guys, I just decided to leave the air conditioning on.  But then, this evening, the forecast had changed a bit - and tomorrow looks really nice, too - so maybe I should have opened the house up.

We've had the AC on since last Saturday, and it will probably be on all this week, too - which is a really long stretch for a Wisconsin summer.  Tomorrow looks really nice, though.

Homemade Bread Sans Gluten is Now Easy and Delicious

Moms with kids who suffer celiac disease know the hardships of having to live a life gluten-free. They watch their kids go through life unable to consume such staples as cereal, bread, pasta, and oatmeal. They themselves have to be ever-vigilant of the ingredients in the foods their child eats. Usually this results in a family-wide forgoing of foods with gluten in them. This is perhaps for the best because it rules out a lot of highly processed baked goods we'd otherwise stock the house with. But honestly, a home without bread is just not a home.

Gluten-free bread and other typically gluten-laden foodstuffs can be made with alternative ingredients from scratch, but tracking down the necessary ingredients is a pain. Then there's the dealing with the messes of making baked bread from scratch. After all of that, there's still the anxiety that comes with worrying about whether or not the right ingredients were used and the proper steps taken. It's a lot to ask for in the struggle to make bread an available edible for the family.

Luckily, for families with a member or members who suffer from celiac disease or have gluten sensitivity, there's a homemade gluten-free baking option that's non-messy and delicious. Bready is a bread baking machine that supplies those who purchase their machine with prepackaged gluten-free bread ingredients. You simply follow the easy steps that take you from a package of dry ingredients to fluffy, warm fresh bread that's gluten-free but flavor-packed.

Bready's gluten free bread machine can also be used to make gluten-free cakes. Talk about an awesome birthday present for somebody who can't consume gluten. There's no way a family used to tip-toeing around gluten foods isn't going to be happy about this product. Your next concern is going to be how to control your collective carb intake now that you can have as much bread as you want.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

#FiberPlus Cereals from Kellogg's

Have you tried the FiberPlus Cereals from Kellogg's?  I recently had the opportunity to try both the Cinnamon Oat Crunch and the Berry Yogurt Crunch.  I really like the Berry Yogurt Crunch - whole grain wheat & rice flakes with berry and yogurt flavored clusters.  It has a really great flavor, and it's really filling.  Normally I don't pay attention to the serving size when I pour a bowl of cereal, so the first day I tried it, I just poured some into the bowl.  And I got full before I finished!  So, after that I actually measured - 1 cup cereal.

One serving provides 40% of your daily fiber as well as several essential nutrients including the antioxidant vitamins C and E.  I've seen the commercials where people seem to think anything with fiber has to taste nasty, but that's not the case.  This stuff is good! 

I wasn't as impressed with the Cinnamon Oat Crunch.  I mean, the flavor is really good, but I just didn't like the texture - at least with milk.  It's actually pretty good straight out of the box, dry, without milk.  It would make a good snack or breakfast-on-the-go.  Measure out individual servings, and bag them up ready to grab on the way out the door.  It would have to be better than grabbing fast food on the way to work, if that's what you usually do.  Right?  And you get fiber and antioxidants, too.

Let me know if you've tried these cereals or any of the other Kellogg's FiberPlus products and what you think.  I'm thinking the Caramel Pecan Crunch cereal looks really good.

disclosure: I was provided 2 free boxes of cereal from Kellogg's.  No other compensation was received, and all opinions are 100% mine.

Saving Some Money on the Cell Phone Bill

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TracFone for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
We were discussing out cell phone plan the other night. We've currently got a family plan that allows us to share 1200 anytime minutes each month.  We've also got unlimited texting, picture messaging, and video messaging.  Jeffrey doesn't even carry his phone because he's got a phone from work they like him to carry because he can get all his email on it.  Cory uses his quite a bit for talking to his friends and texting, and I use mine once in a while.  So really, we're paying for 3 phones and lots of minutes, but we're really not using everything we're paying for, and any minutes we don't use are just gone.
I'm wondering if we could save some money like real TracFone customers everywhere by switching to TracFone.  We could still get brand name phones from leading manufacturers like Motorola, Kyocera, LG, Nokia and Samsung, anything from really simple phones to high-tech Smart phones.  You can get great phones packed with features like camera/video recorder, web access, app capabilities, mp3 player, and full QWERTY keyboard, for $29.99, so there's not a big cost to get started.   Here's a video showing some of the features available on one of the phones:

With TracFone, there are no contracts, no credit checks, no activation charges or cancelation fees. The difference with TracFone is that you only pay for what you use.  Select from pay as you go airtime cards or convenient no contract monthly plans.  There's a 1-year service card with 800 minutes for only $119.00, and double minutes for the life of your TracFone.  So does that mean you really get 1600 minutes?  Or is it just when you buy more minutes?  I'm not sure, but considering how often I use my phone, it probably wouldn't matter.  I'd probably be just fine with that, and it works out to only $10/month!  There are also monthly plans  that give you 200 minutes for under $30.00, and as low as $9.99 for 50 minutes.
TracFone offers great nationwide coverage and even international long distance for no extra charge.  It sounds like a really good deal, and according to these real TracFone customers the coverage is really reliable.  They had a cell phone signal when people who were paying much more had none!  And that's important, because it wouldn't help to save money on the cell phone bill if you had to give up service to do it.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

The Big Five-OH!!

Today is my wonderful husband Jeffrey's 50th birthday.  That's right -

today Jeffrey turns 50! 

So, of course, we can't let such a momentous occasion go unmarked, unremarked, and unnoticed, can we?  So, do me a favor - visit his facebook page and wish the old man a happy, happy birthday!  (If you're not friends with him on facebook and can't post on his wall, just send him a message.  And, if that doesn't work, go ahead and send him an email.)  Let's all let him know we're thinking of him!

today Jeffrey turns 50!  - today Jeffrey turns 50! - today Jeffrey turns 50! -
today Jeffrey turns 50!
- today Jeffrey turns 50! -
 today Jeffrey turns 50!

I love you, honey!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Online College for Ease and Convenience

I got an email yesterday telling me that my student's bill was ready for viewing/paying.  Since it's summer, and school doesn't start again for at least a month (when does it start, anyway? I must look that up.), I wasn't sure what the bill was about.  So I looked it up.  Thankfully there's no payment due for a while, but he does have a balance on his account - for room and board next school year.  I never saw a break-down last year, so I wasn't sure what was room and board, what was tuition, and what was for books, so it was interesting to see.  Housing and food for next year at college - almost $3000.  If only he wasn't a theatre major who takes hands-on classes and needs interaction with other people to learn what he needs to learn, we could maybe research the best online colleges and save some money...

We live close enough to campus that I suppose he could live at home and commute, but when you consider the cost of buying him a car, the gas to get back and forth, and all the extra time it would take him to get back and forth to classes and all his extra-curricular activities, it's really not worth it.  Also, he'd still have to have some kind of food plan because he'd be on campus so much, and he'd still need to eat.  So, living on campus it is.

Now, if I decide to go to college, I don't think living on campus would be an option!  Or commuting either, because why should I?  There are so many online options available.  Being able to get a college education at my own pace and from the comfort of my own home definitely appeals to me.  I'm not going to be a theatre major.  I don't know what I'd like to study, but it's not theatre, so I don't really need that personal interaction, either.

There's a really handy site called DegreeJungle that ranks the top 65 online colleges in the United States that should make it easier to find the college, if I ever figure out what I might like to study.  Because I'm not going back to school just to go back to school - even though I always really liked school - even if it is easy and convenient to study online.  If you're thinking about online college and would like some help choosing the right college for you, check out the rankings at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Splurge or Steal?

Good Morning America periodically has this segment where they have models wearing similar outfits.  One model wears the pricy designer version, and the other model wears a less expensive version of the same look.  Then the audience and the models have to guess which is the Splurge and which is the Steal.

First of all, what they classify as a 'Steal' is still more than I'd ever want to spend on an outfit.  For instance, the Floral Printed top with white denim outfit pictured here is a 'steal' at $188.  For one outfit!  Granted, it is cheaper than the $1,436 price tag of the more expensive outfit, but still.... And if someone is actually buying and wearing the expensive clothes, I have to wonder what she or herstyler are thinking!

Because, second, I usually like the less expensive outfit better - even if it still costs more than I'd ever spend.  I can't figure out why anyone would spend so much money on something that doesn't even look as good.  I don't know if it says I'm not fashionable or if I'm just instinctively cheap.  Probably both.  I don't get caught up in brand-names or the latest fashion, and I love shopping at Goodwill or from the clearance racks at Kohl's, Walmart, or Target - and often those are too expensive for my tastes.  Kohl's does have some cute tops in the stores right now that I'm hoping will make it to the clearance racks and down to a reasonable price.  We'll see.

If you didn't see GMA this morning, which one do you think is the more expensive outfit?  Which one do you like better?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breast Milk Baby - What Do You Think?

I heard about this on Good Morning America a while back but had forgotten about it until they mentioned it again today  because the Breast Milk Baby is coming to the U.S. market, starting with the ASD trade show in Las Vegas July 31.  It's a doll that comes with a special halter top with two flowers positioned where nipples would be and makes suckling sounds when its mouth is brought close to sensors embedded in the flowers.

Apparently, this doll is quite controversial.  There are people who think it over-sexualizes young girls, forces them to grow up too quickly, and even might encourage young girls to want to have babies at a very young age.  Really?  Little girls have been playing with dolls for ages - feeding, changing, rocking, burping, etc.  And, little girls with moms who breastfed their younger siblings have been pretending to breastfeed, too.  I know my little girl did.  She loved her baby dolls, and when I nursed her baby brother, she 'nursed' her baby.  Did it force her to grow up too quickly, make her want a baby at a very young age?  Not any more than all the other things she did with her baby dolls.  The people who don't want little girls playing with these dolls ought to seriously think about taking all dolls away from those little girls.  Little girls pretending to breastfeed, which is completely natural, is really no different than little girls pretending to be mommies and taking care of baby dolls in any other way.

The only problem I have with this doll is that, I can't find the exact selling price anywhere, but I remember from the earlier GMA story that it wasn't cheap.  Why pay so much for a baby doll that simulates breastfeeding, when young girls can pretend just as well with any other doll?

What do you think about the Breast Milk Baby doll?
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Tuesday Tidbits

I was visiting Freaky Frugalite yesterday and noticed she does a weekly meme called "Friday Fragments" - except that she didn't actually post this week until Monday.  But never mind that... It's just a post of random thoughts, happenings, pictures, etc. - the stuff that didn't make it into another post and might get lost or forgotten if it isn't jotted down, or typed into a blog post.  At least that's what I got out of it, and I'm thinking it's an idea I can use.  Except I'm thinking I'll do it on Tuesdays and call it "Tuesday Tidbits" - because I always seem to have a hard time getting back into blogging after the weekend, and lots of times don't get around to it until Tuesday or later.  Something like this might be just what I need to get me going at the beginning of a new week.

Plus, it's a good place to catch you up on what happened over the weekend - not that I think you're hanging on the edge of your seats waiting to hear about my weekends, but I'd just like to have things somewhere so I can remember.  That's one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place, and so often I don't have time for a 'real' blog post - or I don't make time - at the beginning of the week, and then time gets away from me, and I never post anything.  So a few 'Tidbits' is better than nothing, right?  And I can always write a 'better' blog post later if/when I have time, right?

So, now that I've taken all that time to tell you what I'm doing, here are a few Tidbits from this weekend:
  • I got new jeans - Levis.  The weird thing is that one pair is a size 10 and the other is a size 6, and they both fit really well.  Same brand, different sizes - is it any wonder it's so hard to find the perfect pair of jeans?  We were really at Kohl's so Jeffrey could buy a new watch, but there was clearance, and he had 20% off, and we needed to buy something else so we could earn some Kohl's Cash.
  • We found some laminate flooring at Menards on closeout for 69¢/sq. ft. so we're going to replace the carpet in the kids' bedrooms with it.  Our usual Menards didn't have enough for both rooms, so Cory and I drove to another Menards on Monday to get 8 more boxes.  I used the rebate check we got when we bought all the 'free' stuff at the Crazy Days sale in March.  Was it really free?  Well, not exactly, but we did get to spend the same money twice!  Menards also has the underlayment free after rebate right now, so it's a really good time to get it - and we'll have more money to spend again.  
  • Jeffrey and I had dinner at TGIFridays - because we were close, and because I had a $5 coupon from Discover.  I had a yummy salad, and almost froze while we were in there because the air conditioning was so cold.  I had a long-sleeved shirt in the car, but Jeffrey said I had to leave it in the car - because he's mean like that - and he thinks it's ridiculous to need a long-sleeved shirt in the summer.  And I wouldn't need it, if only these places didn't turn the air conditioning so cold!  Kohl's was freezing, too.  It always feels so good to walk back outside into the heat and sun!  So good!
  • and, I reserve the right to add to this list because I'm having a hard time thinking of anything else right now.  I should probably shoot for posting these earlier on Tuesdays.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summertime in Branson

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Silver Dollar City, Branson
This summer would be a great time to get away to Branson.  Last summer we went to Vegas, which is trying to be a family vacation destination, but it's still mainly about gambling, partying, and drinking.  Sorry, Vegas, but you know it's true.  Branson, on the other hand really is a great family destination, and there are things happening all summer long.  National Kidsfest is happening right now through July 24th at Silver Dollar City.  There's a brand-new addition that's all about kids through age 7 as well as some great family-friendly shows.
We don't have young kids anymore, and it will be a while before Jason is old enough to enjoy something like this, but I'd like to visit Silver Dollar City and check out some of the over 30 rides and attractions they offer.  Moonlight Madness,  which runs July 23 - August 7, 2011, sounds like lots of fun because they offer extended ride hours and let you ride after dark, as well as hosting some great street dances.  Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
Branson Convention Center
Besides the fun of Silver Dollar City, there are all the live shows Branson offers (Branson is known as the "Live Music Show Capital of the World") as well as shopping and golf and plenty of activities for everyone.  For a complete summer schedule, visit
The Hiltons of Branson are offering a Branson Best Value Vacation Package, which includes deluxe accommodations at the Hilton Branson Convention Center or Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing.  Each package includes two adult and two children’s tickets to the Legends of Kung Fu show at the White House Theater in Branson, two adult and two children’s two-day passes to Silver Dollar City®, a $25 gift card for shopping, and a $25 food credit for Level 2 Steakhouse. On top of all that, when you pay for two nights,  your third night is free!
Now really would be the perfect time to visit Branson!  Who's in?

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It's Going to Get HOT

-- I typed this post once, but for some unknown reason, Blogger logged me out, and everything I'd written was GONE! --

The past few days have been gorgeous!  Yes, I do like hot summer weather, but I would be perfectly happy with an entire summer of days in the 70s and cool nights perfect for snuggling.  Unfortunately, that's not going to happen.  They say it's going to get HOT and stay HOT through next week.  And humid.  You know what that means - air conditioning!

Hopefully I won't turn into an icicle.  I hate when air conditioning = refrigeration.  I don't want to have to put on a sweatshirt when I should be able to wear summer clothes.  I don't want to be wishing I had some fireplace inserts to switch on for some extra warmth.  I turn up the temperature on the air conditioner as far as I can without it getting too stuffy in here, but I still get cold.  And yes, I'm watching the news right now as they tell me how dangerous this heat is and how hard it will be on people who don't have air conditioning, so I know I should be extremely thankful.  I'll just do my best to appreciate it and go outside periodically to sit in the sun until my toes thaw out.

For now I'm going to enjoy having my windows open with a nice breeze blowing in.  I don't know when I'll get to do that again.

Get a Haircut, Man!

Male long hair in Western culture. Totnes, UK ...Image via Wikipedia
I read an article recently that quoted 1 Corinthians 11:14-15 “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?”  The author went on to say that few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”

Really?  Maybe I'm not thinking of it in quite those terms - that it's a shame, disgrace, or degrading to the man - but just the fact that men do not look good with long hair should be enough.  There's just something about a man's face that does not work with long hair.  I've never seen a man who actually looked good with long hair.  And if it's not degrading to be mistaken for a woman from behind, then what is?  There are some men who could actually be quite attractive, if only they'd get a haircut.  And nobody should need a Bible verse to tell them that - which is what that verse is saying...

I have no opinion on wilson cell booster canada, but that's my opinion on men with long hair.  What do you think? Are there any men who actually look better with long hair?  Show me.
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Happy Birthday, Cory!

19 years ago today - really early in the morning at 12:34am - we welcomed a baby boy into our lives.

It's hard to believe my baby is 19 years old.  How is that possible?  Time flies when you're having fun, I guess, and there's definitely been plenty of fun having Cory around!

Happy Birthday Cory, My Cory!  I love you, my favorite son!

- photo from his facebook profile in celebration of his birthday -

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Extra Cash for Old Electronics

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of uSell for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Picture 2
If you're anything like us, you've got some old electronics lying around - cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras.  We have plenty of items we're not using anymore, but we never know what to do with them.  So they just sit around taking up space in our house and gathering dust.

Hopefully that's going to change.  I just found out about a site that helps you get Cash for Your Cell Phones and Electronics. Just enter the name of your device, model, or brand and then answer a few questions about the condition it's in to compare offers from top buyers.  If nobody is buying, they'll give you some suggestions for recycling or donating - so at least you get it out of the house and maybe even help someone in the process.
I entered one of our old cell phones, but I guess we've had it sitting around here too long, because no one wanted to buy it.  I'm thinking about donating it to Cell Phones for Soldiers.  That sounds like a way to help some very deserving people, and I know first-hand how hard it is on the family when a loved one is deployed.  Being able to communicate is so precious and important!
We do have some newer phones around here, so I'm going to have to try those, too.  After all, we're not using them any more, so we might as well get some extra cash if we can, right?  With a son in college we can use every bit we can find.  If it's not tuition, books, and housing, it's something.  Hopefully our newer phones will be worth something, and someone will want to buy them.
If you've got some extra electronics sitting around just gathering dust, be sure to check out uSell.  uSell finds the highest cash offers from top-rated buyers.  It's convenient and secure, and they guarantee you'll get the most cash for your items or they'll pay you the difference.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Your Other Left

pedestrians (icon)Image via Wikipedia
I don't know why I let it bother me, but it still really, really bugs me when I see people out walking on the wrong side of the street.  And especially when they're pushing small children in strollers, or have ear buds in their ears listening to music while they walk.  I guess I should be happy they're out getting some exercise and not just relying on fat burners that work fast while staying indoors watching TV or something.

But, pedestrians walking on a street or road where there is no sidewalk should be facing traffic.  That means on the left side of the street.  As consistent as people are about walking on the other side of the street, with traffic instead of facing it, I have to believe they don't care - or no one ever cared enough about them to tell them which side of the street to walk on.  Either that or they think they're walking on the left side - though they obviously don't know why.  To that I say, Your Other Left!  Thankfully, our streets aren't very busy and are very safe, but it's good to get in the habit of walking where you're supposed to, just in case you ever have to walk on a busy road somewhere.  See Rules and Pointers for Pedestrians and Drivers from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Oh, and you people on bicycles?  You ride with the traffic.  You have wheels.  And tell your kids.  It's even more dangerous when they don't really know where they're supposed to go, and two or more kids on bikes split up when a car comes toward them, going to either side of the street so that the car has to go between them.
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Love Fireworks

We went with Beth and Tim to the lakefront to see Milwaukee's fireworks last Sunday evening.  The family Tim lived with for a while goes every year.  They get there early, set up tents, bring the grill and lots of food, and spend the day.  We'd never gone before.  We didn't spend the day, just went in the evening - still with plenty of time to hang out before it was time for the fireworks.

The fireworks were awesome!  They shoot them off from three different barges out in the water, and they have something, usually several, continuously in the air for a whole hour.  I didn't get nearly all of it, but I just couldn't resist taking some video with my cell phone.  I would have used my other camera, but the battery decided to die.  Also, I really should have played with the camera settings on the phone, because the video is really small, I can only shoot 30 seconds of video at a time, and there was no sound.  Sound would  have been nice because we were hearing not just the fireworks, but the echos off the buildings behind us.  But, I used Windows Live Movie Maker to put the videos together and added some music, and they're still fun to watch, because they're fireworks, and I love fireworks.

After copying the video from my phone and playing with it last night, I adjusted the settings on my phone.  Why I didn't think of that before, I don't know.  I knew how to change from camera to camcorder, but I had never looked beyond that to realize there are lots of other settings I can play with.  The settings were optimized for sending from my phone and sharing on other phones, which I guess makes sense, but I don't really do a lot of that.  I'd rather have better quality videos - maybe they'll even go longer than 30 seconds at a time and have sound.  I haven't tried it yet, but we'll see.

Friday, July 08, 2011

BabyOnTime App - ad

How about this? iPhone app for new parents, to remind them when to feed baby, change diapers, etc -

Edit: I was playing with MyLikes and just wanted to see what it would do if I let it post to my blog.  It just posted that short part at the top there.  I'm not thinking this is a good thing, though maybe it's just supposed to be a start - and then I'm supposed to do like this and edit the really short post it makes.  And maybe change the link?

Anyone use it?  I like it for tweeting, not so sure about posting to  my blog.

And, yes, I actually thought this app was interesting.  Beth has something like this for Android.  It helps her keep track of when and how much Jason eats, how much he sleeps, etc.  They didn't have anything like this when I had babies.

Do You Upromise?

UpromiseImage via Wikipedia
I signed up for Upromise ages ago. It's a free rewards program that helps you earn money for college. Sounds like a good idea, right?  But only if you use it.  Unfortunately, I rarely remember to use it.  Now that our son is in college, it would really be nice if I had, 'cause we'd have a little extra money to help with those college expenses.

When I log in, Upromise tells me, "We think you're missing out on the EXTRA college savings you could be getting when you..."  And then they give me suggestions for how I could be earning more money.  There are still 3 years left of college (at least) so there is still time, right?

I just need to remember to check Upromise when I'm shopping online, because lots of stores offer cash back.  For instance, when I ordered the crib for Beth, I could have gotten 10% back if only I'd gone through Upromise when I ordered.  But no, I didn't think of it.

In addition to cash back savings, there are coupon codes to save even more money on online purchases.  You know how much I like saving money and using coupons.  You'd think I could remember to search for pottery barn coupons before I check out.  Oh, and remember those glasses I ordered yesterday?  Could have gotten 5% back.  5%!  But I didn't think to check.  I hate when there's money for the taking, and I don't take it!

It's not really Upromise's fault.  They have their TurboSaver browser add-on that's supposed to remind me when there are college savings available, like if I could earn cash for college or get williams sonoma coupons.  I've just never installed it.  Like I said, there's still time, right?

How about you? Do you Upromise?  How much money have you saved toward college?  How do you remember to use it?
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Thursday, July 07, 2011


Cory and I got our eyes checked last week, so it's time for new glasses.  I can still see with my current glasses, but my prescription has changed a bit - and it just might be time for bifocals.  I don't have to do it, but I find myself looking under my glasses more and more when I want to read something up close.  That gets a little hard on the eyes after a while.  Of course, I could just take my glasses off or push them up...

The eye doctor suggested the no-line progressives, but I'm not sure how that's going to work.  After our eye exam, Cory and I went to Walmart to look at glasses - which was good because they were running a  $29 special on glasses for kids 18 and under.  Since he's still 18 until the 15th, he qualified for that and found a pair of frames he really liked.  We added the anti-reflective coating, so his glasses ended up costing $49 - which is really good.  I looked at some frames, but all the ones I kind of liked were too small for progressive lenses.  I might have to go with the lined bifocals, just so I can get glasses that are small enough for my face.

First I just need to go out looking at some of the places that take our vision insurance, to see what I can find and how much they're going to cost me.  I don't think it will be too bad, actually.  The insurance covers frames and basic lenses, and it also covers a percentage of the upgrades for the thinner lenses I need (which were automatically included in the $29 kids' glasses - how unfair is that?) and even the progressive lenses - unlike a couple years ago when we last had vision insurance.  It's just a matter of finding something I like.

Even with the insurance, it will probably cost more than I'd like.  You know me, I like to save on glasses and contacts by ordering online.  However, for the first time getting bifocals, I really want to get them locally - so I have somebody to turn to if I need help getting them adjusted, in case I have a hard time getting used to them.  But, because I just couldn't resist, I went ahead and ordered a pair of single-vision glasses this morning.
The style is called Anna, so I figured they were supposed to be mine.  Black is not exactly my color, but I like the pink on the inside, and I'm thinking it softens the black a bit.  And, yeah, I think they're cute.  They'll be good for those times when I don't need to be reading small print, and the plastic frames are easier to get on when I've got the motorcycle helmet on.

If you need new glasses - bifocals or not - check out  They have all kinds of styles, and contacts too.  They promise to beat any price, so you can get the best deals on designer glasses.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Back to Work

Beth went back to work yesterday. Maternity Leave is over.  Well, it wasn't exactly Maternity Leave.  It was more like time off without pay.  Thankfully Tim has been working enough to pay the bills while she was off learning to be Jason's Mommy.  By the way, she's a good mommy!

Now she's back to work, taking care of 3 kids every day - her own and the two she watches every day.  She works as a nanny for a really nice family, and she gets to take her baby to work with her.  From what she posted on Facebook, it sounds like her first day back went well.  Eight weeks is a long time to be away from two adorable kids she loves.  I think she's happy to be back with them, and I'm sure they're happy to have her back.  Jason even helped out by being a happy boy and taking his naps.

So it sounds like everything is going well.  Of course, there will be ups and downs, but I'm sure everyone will adjust and settle into a routine that works for them.  And now that she's working again, Beth won't have to come to her dad for a cash advance when she needs something - and she can pay us back for some of the things that came up while she wasn't working, like gas for the car and an air conditioner.  The bad part is that we probably won't see Jason (and his mommy) as often as we did while she wasn't working.

Monday, July 04, 2011

How Much Do You Know About America's Independence?

FireWorks, Animated Fireworks, Animated Graphics, Independence Day, Fourth Of July, 4th Of July, Keefers Pictures, Images and Photos Happy 4th of July!

When the 4th of July rolls around, everyone thinks of cook-outs, fireworks, and red-white-and-blue, but how many of us know what we're really celebrating?  America's birthday?  Independence?  Freedom?

One of my friends on facebook shared a link to this article - 10 Things You Might Not Know About America's Independence - and I thought it was really interesting.  There were several things I didn't know before, or else I had forgotten.  It's been a while since I went to school!  Did they even teach this stuff in school?

I especially love that the very first resolution brought before the First Continental Congress, and immediately passed, was the declaration that they would open every meeting with a prayer.

About those fireworks - have you ever wondered how fireworks came to be part of the 4th of July celebration?  I didn't know that fireworks have been part of the celebration since the very beginning, back in 1776.  That's a tradition I  really like!  along with the prayer.
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Friday, July 01, 2011

Somebody Close the Garage Door

I stayed up way too late the other night. Beth and Tim (and Jason) were here.  About the time they were ready to pack up and leave, Beth changed Jason's diaper so she could put him right to bed when they got home if he fell asleep in the car.  Well, that woke him up, and he was so happy just laying there, talking and smiling, and we just enjoyed him for a while.  Still, it was getting late.  It was definitely time to turn off  with the Direct TV and retire for the night.

I suppose I could have gone to bed, but I was thinking that Beth came in the garage, and she'd need to go out that way - and somebody had to make sure the garage door got closed for the night.  When Beth lived here, she was notorious for not closing the garage door when she left.  And then, the other morning, we found the garage door wide open when we got up.  Cory had friends over, and we went to bed while they were still here.  They'd all come in through the garage, but he sent them out the front door, and didn't check the garage door before he went to bed.  So, when Beth wasn't leaving, it just seemed I needed to stay up until she wa finally ready to go so I could make sure the garage door got closed.  It's one of those things where I feel like  if I don't do it, nobody's going to do it.

Really, it's not a matter of life or death here where we live.  Those who live in Benton, may feel a need for home security benton, but here in Eagle we're pretty safe.  We don't often hear of break-ins or robberies.  It's still a good idea not to leave the garage door wide open overnight or the front door hanging open, just in case someone can't resist such an open invitation.  I'm just going to have to get everyone else in the habit of double-checking it so I don't have to be the one who stays up.